Toru Ishii + Ai Makita “Shuttlecock”

ANA InterContinental Tokyo

poster for Toru Ishii + Ai Makita  “Shuttlecock”

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Toru Ishii aims to examine the value of today’s innovative traditional art. Just as the Ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints) masters from the Edo period vividly portrayed ordinary people’s lives, Ishii depicts today’s social problems such as the miserable lives of the average white-collar worker, the aftermath of natural disasters, and disposed cardboard boxes on the streets in his unique pop art style, using the traditional ‘itome-yuzen’ dyeing technique. Just as Motonobu Hishikawa portrayed a sleek-looking fashionista of the time with analogue woodblock printing in his Mikaeri- bijin (“Beauty Looking Back”), Ishii creates an online collage based on the masterpiece print, using cutouts from fashion magazines and digitally dyeing the image onto silk.

Ai Makita aims to depict ‘modern sublimity’ in her work. Makita states that people in the past searched for ‘sublimity’ in nature, whereas people nowadays seek it in man-made technology. In order to symbolize ‘modern sublimity,’ she chooses plastics and chromium plating, materials with artificial and uniform texture consisting of inorganic components as her motif. She has been producing works that accentuate the stark contrast between ‘man-made objects and nature’ and ‘past and present,’ by creating organic forms using inorganic materials and by employing an analogue technique, oil painting on canvas, to depict the digital images.

The two artists’ processes couldn’t be more different, but Ishii and Makita both look squarely into today’s society, reaffirming their own perspectives at pivotal moments. Just as a shuttlecock, they are artists who can move agilely between the contrasting worlds of past and present, Japan and the rest of the world, analogue and digital, and tradition and innovation.

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from June 20, 2018 to September 17, 2018

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