YAMAMOTO Ryuki Exhibition(TOKYO)

26 January - 26 February 2011

Mizuma Art Gallery presents YAMAMOTO Ryuki’s 3rd solo exhibition, 2 years after his remarked “SHI SHIN KEI – Super privatism” show. We invite you to appreciate Yamamoto’s unprecedented grandiose masterpiece before he goes to Beijing, China, with the support of the Pola Art Fondation.

For this exhibition, Yamamoto who thoroughly keeps on drawing detailed self-portraits took up the challenge to draw a picture of Hell. Inspiration came from the Kumano Kanshin Jikkai Zu (Kumano Ten-Worlds Mandala), a well transmitted traditional subject in Mie, the artist’s birthplace. In this work More than a hundred of Yamamoto’s various self-portraits cover up the entire huge canvas.

The Mandala was created as a miniature of the whole worlds of the livings and the after-life. After death, people fall into different hells represented as the resulting effects of our actions – causes – in the present world. The people who nearly experienced the realm of death by staring at this just one painting started governing their actual way of life. In this way, this Mandala formerly constituted a guide of moral conduct intended for the general public. In Yamamoto’s work, the dead tortured by the demons of Hell are all self-representations of the artist, from one corner to the other. He uses this usually introspective and restrictive depiction to show the deceased when opting for anonymity would have preserved the general purpose of the artwork. Yet, It mysteriously remain possible to project our own self into those portraits.

In this work, Yamamoto’s self-portraits are deprived of singularity, they come out as a kind of symbols. Their plain facial expressions reflect no remorse nor anguish, just as if obediently accepting those bewildering circumstances. We then find ourselves reading something from the movements and the situations by giving up on trying to find a difference between the multiple figures, as if we were reading different emotions on one single Noh mask. Our eyes chase the countless representations of the artist without rest and we might even start to feel their thrill in this gigantic theme-park of hells.

Yamamoto defines his ideal as a “1 frame painting”. It should express the equivalent of the drama contained into several hours of film, into several books. He has durably been influenced by manga and admire this genre’s 3 components which he says are “story”, “movement” and “character”. In his work he places his one and only character – himself – into carefully chosen situations. The aspect he then values the most into his compositions is “movement”, which is not only related to manga but also widely to the painting’s impression, the fascination that lead the viewer’s gaze like a rhythmical “movement”. This time Yamamoto spend countless hours working on the rendering of this feeling in the smallest details of the composition, employing his best techniques to paint the huge canvas. Hell as the reality distorted. Why don’t you try to find yourself in Yamamoto’s version of Hell?

We also invite you to take a look at Yamamoto Ryuki’s inner body self-portraits that complete this exhibition.