Chiba Kazumasa, "Modern Interpretation of Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’" (TOKYO)

21 August - 21 September 2019

Mizuma Art Gallery presents “Modern Interpretation of Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ ”, a solo exhibition by CHIBA Kazumasa from 21st August to September 21st.


CHIBA Kazumasa, born in Kanagawa in 1967, graduated from Tokyo Zokei University with a sculpture degree, and has since continued his creation in Kanagawa prefecture.


“Modern Interpretation of Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ ” which Chiba himself calls it his life’s work, is something that he started in around 2000. Chiba assumes the role of Dante, adopting the stage of the ‘Divine Comedy’ through hell, purgatory, and paradise, to narrate the things he contemplates in the day to day of living in the present Japanese society, as well as feeling of negative emotions that he carries on himself, and finally the spiritual world that arise from it all, using two and three-dimensional artworks.


Considered to be the greatest classic in Italian literature, the ‘Divine Comedy’ is a three-part epic poem, written by Dante (poet, politician, and philosopher of 13~14th century) who attempted to express the moral principles of life. What cannot be overlooked behind the scenes of the ‘Divine Comedy’, are the incidents of political strife in Italy at the time, the expulsion from his homeland Florence, as well as his eternal love for Beatrice. Chiba’s illustrated ‘Divine Comedy’ depicts the things he researched through TV, newspaper, and the internet, on cases, accidents, stupidity of present-day humans, political injustice, and above all, his dissatisfaction with the society that prioritizes everything around selfish human needs. In 2012, he won the “Toshiko Okamoto Award” from the 15th exhibition of the Taro Okamoto Award for Contemporary Art, for his works on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. For Chiba, whose parents come from the Fukushima Prefecture, it may have been quite natural for him to face the earthquake disaster and the power plant accident head-on and use it as a subject for his work.


Chiba states that the continuation to create these works is a journey to explore the inner world of the people living in our current time, as well as an act to liberate himself from his soul that carries conflict and hesitation. Presenting his work in this exhibition does not mean the end of it. As long as he feels unrighteousness, stupidity and dissatisfaction in this society, it is likely that he will continue his creation.


Since receiving the Okamoto Toshiko Prize in 2012, he has rarely shown anything in public, and after almost 20 years of devotion in producing works, Chiba Kazumasa’s modern interpretation of the ‘Divine Comedy’, with volumes on hell, purgatory and paradise, all come together in a single space with great intensity. We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you to an extraordinary exhibition.