Scottish born Andrew Gilbert (b. 1980), for whom this will be the first time exhibiting in Japan, studied Fine Arts at the University of Edinburgh and has since shown his works in numerous exhibitions in Europe in addition to participating in the MeetFactory Residency Program in Prague and delivering the lecture 'Vezelay to Ulundi - from the First Crusade to the Anglo Zulu War'¯ at the Camberwell College of Arts in London, as he continues to vigorously pursue his craft. Having shown an interest in the history of war since a young age, Gilbert studied primitivism and ethnic cultures while at the University of Edinburgh. By humorously replicating the tragic histories of past peoples as caricature and allegory in his paintings, he presents them to contemporary society, which to this day has seen no end to wars and revolts. For instance, he exhibited a series of works that satirize the tyranny and brutality of colonization, drawing from the real history of the defeat of the British army by the Zulu ethnic minority in Africa during the colonial era, and focusing on that reversible element. An array of characters, from British soldiers caricatured as birds to fictitious African aristocracy, westernized kimono-clad beauties, and mushroom-headed knights in armor, appear as icons within the paintings that will be on display in the upcoming exhibition.
Akiyoshi Mishima (b.1978) has exhibited works based on the universality of endurance through being subjected to the recurring cycles of glory and catastrophe via solo exhibitions 'QUARTER'¯, in which he explores the transition of status and role across three post-war generations (2006), and 'FAMILY'¯, which re-examines the fundamental linkage amongst mankind (2009). For his solo exhibition 'AWAKENING HYPNOSIS'¯, held at the Galerie Lena Brüning in Germany during the summer of last year, he presented a series of works that, in dealing with the Great East Japan Earthquake, represented mankind's fundamental energy force to move forward, focusing on the primitive disposition of carrying with one the ambiguity between a former glory that at a certain point in time became but a phantom, and the noble essence remaining in the contrastingly decadent reality. 'Indigo Children'¯, a piece symbolic of his recent work within the series, depicts a gigantic tower, wrapped in a black fog, looming in the center of the image, and although the work bears an ominously tense feeling evocative of the Fall of the Tower of Babel, the title, as quoted from American parapsychologist Nancy Ann Tappe, suggests instead a deeply held positive belief in the new generation of children to rise above and live through whatever disasters and revolutions may occur in the future. For the upcoming exhibition, Mishima will be showing new pieces in search of a global aesthetic based on traditional Japanese arts in continuation of his series 'SHOGON'¯, which he presented in April of this year at the project space Galarie Nagel Draxier in Germany.
The upcoming exhibition will be an installation of paintings and mixed media works. It focuses on approaching the fictional ethnic cultures, histories, and mythologies present within both Andrew Gilbert's and Akiyoshi Mishima's works despite their completely different cultural language, and aims to pose afresh the questions of the significance of human existence and the possibilities of the future.
Gilbert will be making his first trip to Japan for the exhibition, and an opening reception with both artists present will be held on 8/31 starting at 18:00.
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