Beyond the Surface: Yayoi Kusama, Monir Farmanfarmaian, Masayasu Mitsuke, Yeesookyung, and Hiraki Sawa


Ota Fine Arts is delighted to announce "Beyond the Surface", a group exhibition featuring works by Yayoi Kusama, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Masayasu Mitsuke, Yeesookyung and Hiraki Sawa. The pieces selected are all piquant studies of the artist's hand as it touches the surface of the canvas, traces paper, gilds ceramic ware, or shapes mirroring glass into stunning forms.

With her most recent Infinity Nets, a long-standing motif the artist has wielded perpetually and painstakingly since she debuted them in the 1950's, Yayoi Kusama allows accumulating "nets" to swell and ebb across the field of the canvas. She moulds monotone patterns into an oscillating and ever-changing topography of whites, greys and silvers. Vis-à-vis Kusama's work stand the reflective facets designed by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. Hendecagon recalls Sufi symbolism and symmetry with dazzling contemporary relevance. With similar discernment, Masayasu Mitsuke's fine craftsmanship experiments with the geometric possibilities of delicate East Asian porcelain traditions. The brilliant red of Mitsuke's Akae enamel is underscored by Yeesookyung's Flame drawing, as she traces and re-traces Korean paper with an almost spiritual austerity evoked by symbolic cinnabar. And finally, Hiraki Sawa turns video into an incredibly tactile experience, as he splices together stop-motion animated figures and miniature models into an entrancing, unspoken story.

Ota Fine Arts is pleased to bring together these artists whose attention often lies beneath and beyond the surface, revealing formal dimensions that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Yayoi Kusama
Well known for her use of dense patterns of polka dots and nets, as well as her intense, large-scale environments, Yayoi Kusama works in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film, performance, and immersive installation. Born in Japan in 1929, Kusama came to the United States in 1957 and quickly found herself at the epicenter of the New York avant-garde. After achieving fame through groundbreaking exhibitions and happenings, she returned to her native country in1973 and is now one of Japan's most prominent contemporary artists. The largest retrospective dedicated to Kusama toured the Reina Sofia, Madrid (2011), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011), Tate Modern, London (2012) and opened at the Whitney Museum, New York on 12 July 2012. At the same time her Louis Vuitton line was unveiled and designed in collaboration with creative director Marc Jacobs. Her tour will continue throughout museums in Asia and South America from 2013 to 2015.

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
Born in 1924 in Qazvin, Iran, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian went to New York City in 1945 as an art student at Cornell University and Parsons School of Design. She collaborated with Andy Warhol as a fashion illustrator for department store Bonwit Teller. Farmanfarmaian returned to Iran as an established artist in the 1960s and held major exhibitions in Europe and America. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, she took refuge in New York, only returning to Tehran in 2003 where she continues to work today. Spanning five decades, her distinctive body of work translates Persian pictorial language and Sufi symbolism into modern, shimmering abstraction by combining mirror mosaic and reverse glass painting techniques. Farmanfarmaian has participated in the Venice Biennale three times (1958, 1964, 2009), the 29th São Paulo Biennale (2010), and the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2009). She has been featured in significant solo exhibitions including "Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Mirror Mosaics" at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2007), and "Geometry of Hope" at the Leighton House Museum, London (2008).

Masayasu Mitsuke
Born in 1975 in Ishikawa, Japan, where he continues to work today, Masayasu Mitsuke graduated from the Kutani Training Center and studied under Buzan Fukushima. Mitsuke has created his own original style in Akae (red enamel) Kutani ware with iron-red and gilt painting. His works reveal delicate, breathtakingly intricate geometric patterns applied with fine brushes. He has recently been featured at "Art Crafting Towards the Future" at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2012), and is collected by the Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art, Kanazawa and the Kutaniyaki Art Museum, Kaga.

Born in 1963 in Korea, Yeesookyung studied painting at the College of Fine Arts of the National University in Seoul, where she continues to develop her well-known ceramic Translated Vases series, as well as diverse works on paper, silk scrolls, large installations, video and performance. She has completed residencies at Villa Arson, Apex Art and the Bronx Museum, and her work has been shown globally at the 6th Gwangju Biennale (2006), ARCO 07, the 5th Liverpool Biennial (2008), the 2009 Vancouver Biennale and the 2010 Busan Biennale. Most recently, Yeesookyung has been featured in notable exhibitions including "Women In-Between: Asian Women Artists 1984-2012" at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, the "2012 Korea Art Prize" at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, and "The Collectors Show: Weight of History" at the Singapore Art Museum.

Hiraki Sawa
Born in 1977 in Ishikawa, Japan, Hiraki Sawa studied fine art and went on to pursue his MFA in sculpture at Slade School of Fine Art in London, where he continues to work till today. His video work and moving image installations reveal domestic and imaginary spaces that play with the often unexpected textures of memory and artifice. Sawa has participated in the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2009), the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010), the 2011 Chengdu Biennale, and group exhibitions such as "Encounter: The Royal Academy in Asia" touring the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore and the Middle East Katara Cultural Village in Doha (2012), and "Re: Quest -- Japanese Contemporary Art Since the 1970's" at the Museum of Art Seoul National University (2013). His solo exhibitions have been held at the National Museum of Victoria, Melbourne (2006), la Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archeologie, Besançon (2010), and most recently at the Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo (2012).

Installation Views