KONDOH Akino "Noodling in New York"

5 July - 12 August 2023

Mizuma Art Gallery is pleased to present “Noodling in New York,” an exhibition by KONDOH Akino starting on Wednesday, 5th July.


Last year marked the 10th anniversary of the serialization of Kondoh’s comic essay titled “Noodling in New York” (serialized in Akishobo’s web magazine “Akichi”), which recount the artist’s days spent in New York in illustrated anecdotes.


This exhibition will coincide with the release of the fourth volume of the aforementioned comic essay, and will focus on the manga manuscripts that appear in the volume, as well as new drawings that relate to the manga.


The fourth volume, which begins its story from the midst of COVID-19 disaster, includes global events such as Trump’s second presidential election, the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and the start of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, as well as personal events (the major water leak incident at her home, surgery of her close family member, and the adoption of her new cat) are equivalently depicted in a two-page spread per episode.


“As the word ‘Noodling’ in the title suggest, there is a carefree notion that imbues the narrative, without a need to jump into any conclusions, which I feel brings out the laid-back vibe in this series. I have drawn what I thought about while living, walking the streets, and just sitting in the corner of the city in New York, as if I were recounting to someone close to me about my recent situations.” Kondoh recalls.


Kondoh says that through working on the comic essay these past years, it has become a habit to take photographs that could be used as materials for her manga. Her creative process for her drawings in this show involves tracing the photographs for the backdrop, and then drawing herself as a character into the scenes. Tracing is an essential part of the manga production process for Kondoh, who draws her manga by also tracing rough drafts onto manuscript paper. The artist believes that through the process of replacing the photo with lines, she is able to represent both reality and her constant state of contemplation, onto the present.


The single-framed drawings related to “Noodling in New York”, that will be exhibited at the show are detailed scenes that depict the aftermath of the events portrayed in the comic essay or gives imagination as to what might occur afterwards. Scribbled in the corner of these sceneries are the actual location and date of when the artist photographed the scene. These drawings have few words in contrast to the rest of the manga, leaving the viewers with no clear conclusion to the artist’s thoughts, and perhaps reminding the viewers of where they themselves were and what they were doing that day. When you look at the drawings altogether, and overlay each viewer’s daily life, you might even picture a whole new scenario that have not yet been depicted in the drawings.


In addition, in the small room beside the main exhibition space, there will be image sketches from the new animated film titled “Never Before Named,” which was mentioned in the 251st episode of “Noodling in New York.” In contrast to her previous works, which were created in black and white plus maybe one or two colors, sketches full of color will fill out the exhibition space. Kondoh, who has often used the base color of paper or white to express her skin tone, says that after living in New York for a long time, she had begun to feel discomfort in using white as her skin color.


We hope that you will look forward to seeing more of Kondoh’s future through her progression of works, which have begun to expand with the addition of colors to the character’s skin. Mizuma Art Gallery is pleased to present the first exhibition in 10 years by Kondoh Akino.



You can enjoy a virtual 3D walkthrough of KONDOH Akino “Noodling in New York”.

Please visit the following link.