Aoi Sasai ”Lilac in Harbin”

Ando Gallery

poster for Aoi Sasai ”Lilac in Harbin”
[Image: Aoi Sasai, "Sun Waterfall" (2018) Oil on canvas 162 x 194cm]

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Born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1986, Aoi Sasai completed the Painting Course at the Graduate School of Art and Design, Musashino Art University. Sasai has since depicted expressively distorted trees set against a neutral gray space and won acclaim for her striking artistic vision. Rather than trees growing wild on a mountain or in a forest, she has consistently taken common everyday trees, planted by people for some purpose, as her motif.
In May 2018, Aoi Sasai traveled to Harbin, China. Her purpose, she says, was to see the city’s lilacs, a blossom designated as the municipal flower. Planted in seemingly every part of the city, the lilacs bloom all at once in early summer with light purple, white, or pink flowers and emit a pleasing fragrance. Taking the lilacs seen on her trip as a motif, Sasai embarked on new creation. Among the paintings presented this time is one depicting a waterfall, Sun Waterfall. At a glance, it suggests willow trees, but it actually portrays an artificial waterfall named “Sun Waterfall” at Sun Island, a well-known tourist destination in Harbin. The painting is worthy of our attention, for it marks the first time a motif other than a tree has appeared in her work since her 2012 solo exhibition. A difference also appears in the background colors of these works. Until now she has taken gray as her basic color, but this time she uses light brown and green. These colors perhaps reflect her depiction of the trees in the afternoon rather than in the evening as she has in the past.
Harbin—a beautiful city retaining Russian-style buildings and an exotic mood. Then, Harbin is also a city discussed in the context of war. As someone born in 1986, what did she see and feel in this city? What did she not depict? Sasai’s paintings never speak loudly, denounce, or evoke memory or association. Yet, when viewing them, we sense a strong spirit within them. This exhibition displays more than eight new paintings rendered in oils on canvas.

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Schedule

from February 05, 2019 to April 13, 2019

Opening Reception on 2019-02-05 from 18:00 to 20:00

Artist(s)

Aoi Sasai

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