KANEKO Tomiyuki "Savage Deities"(TOKYO)

5 April - 28 April 2017

Mizuma Art Gallery is delighted to announce KANEKO Tomiyuki’s solo exhibition “Savage Deities”, opening on 5th April 2017. Taking place six years on from his solo exhibition “Yokai Substantiations” at Mizuma Action (in Nakameguro), this will be his first show at Mizuma Art Gallery in Ichigaya.


Since his childhood Kaneko Tomiyuki has held a deep interest in the spiritual worlds of local folklores. Attracted by the atmosphere of Japan’s Tōhoku region, he studied Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) at Tōhoku University of Art and Design. With a focus on yokai, spirits and deities, in his practice he continues to develop the materialization of spiritual existences that cannot be seen with the human eye, working from a base in Yamagata, also of the Tōhoku region. In 2015 under the aegis of the Program of Overseas Study for Upcoming Artists organized by the Japanese Government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs Kaneko resided in Cambodia’s Siem Reap region, best known for the Angkor Wat temple complex. There he encountered sculptural art from the Hindu, Theravada Buddhist and animist traditions, inspiring him to amass a number of sketches and other works. His work was used as the main visual image for the National Art Center’s recently concluded and highly acclaimed “DOMANI” exhibition, and even within the content of the group show it left a lasting impression. 


This exhibition “Savage Deities” focuses upon the Japanese dragon deity Kuraokami, who is said to govern over water. Kaneko challenges himself, by the manifestation of their mighty power, to create the physical materializations of the deities who are the objects of his reverence. The force of their magnificent strength, which ordinarily remains hidden from us, is something that has come to be sensed by human beings through the experience of actions transcending generations, and has been expressed in a wide variety of forms throughout history. Even as each generation has been overwhelmed by this massive strength, for we, who have tried as hard as possible until today to link together the generations, these “Savage Deities” whose power overwhelms that of humans are surely yet still beings we must revere; we must coexist with them, and never forget their presence. This exhibition will feature a small space like that of the artist’s own atelier, and the sketchbooks that form the background to his practice will also be shown. We look forward to welcoming you to this unique opportunity to view the works of Kaneko Tomiyuki, who continues to gaze into the deepest depths of phantoms and deities, and to manifest them within the world of visual depiction.