Hiraki Sawa and SHINCHIKA: Hiraki Sawa, SHINCHIKA (Rinshiro Fujiki, Yosuke Fujino, Tsuyoshi Hisakado, Toki Katsumura, Shimpei Yoshikawa)


Ota Fine Arts is delighted to present a duo exhibition of artist Hiraki Sawa and creative group SHINCHIKA.


SHINCHIKA is a collective founded in 2002 by Tsuyoshi Hisakado, Yosuke Fujino, Rinshiro Fujiki, Shimpei Yoshikawa and Toki Katsumura from the Kyoto City University of Arts. Their name was inspired by the "Shinsekai Kokusai Chika Gekijo" theatre from Osaka's squalid ghetto. Through the combination of original graphics, unique visual compositions, lyrics and sound, the group presents mini episodes that reveal the eclectic and bizarre fantasy world of SHINCHIKA. Each work is a reflection of each member's recollections, daily activities and living environment, and is often infused with a unique sense of humor, nostalgia and of what may hold in the near future.


"JSCO" begins with a model plot of earth that contains an urban cityscape with tall concrete buildings and a separate plot of suburban land with much greenery and low-lying buildings. As the city lights up, we are transported back in time to a certain winter day in suburban Japan, a girl is struggling to assemble model toys given to her by her boyfriend, who has recently moved from the country to the city. A few scenes later, her mind wanders off on a journey by train. As the plot disappears, traffic barriers, trucks, plants, birds, fruits, greenhouses, water tanks and a myriad of everyday objects gush forward, pointing to the decadence and obsessions of a prevailing consumer society. As the train arrives in the city, she is fascinated by a gigantic display of objects arranged in an orderly manner. Popular animation characters from the 80s and 90s occupy the display. All of her dreams about the city, time and desires culminate in a short lyrical rap composed by the members of SHINCHIKA. These popular toys that were once filled with her hopes, desires and associations begin to break apart, and are now replaced by cityscapes and objects. As she is ejected into the air from a suburbia shopping mall JSCO -- a derivative of the largest Japanese hypermarket, JUSCO -- she comes to terms with her illusions about the gap between urban cities and suburban Japan. At the end of the video, she is presented with an array of mixed objects from both city and country, their meanings and associations now discarded.


Hiraki Sawa presents his latest video work "/ home". Sawa began working on "/ home" in 2017. The video was filmed in his childhood home, a house which continued to be a grounding place even as he pursued an international career. The work was filmed as Sawa's parents prepared to move, and captures traces of a familial existence in flux. The stains on the wallpaper, flowy curtains and marks left behind by the furniture are remnants of life in the past, and evidences of a private space once possessed and utilized by Sawa's family. The miniature airplane remains a consistent motif in Sawa's work to date and when situated in these spaces that he navigated as a young boy, it becomes a powerful tool for unpicking ideas of time and place.


"I thought I would always have a place to go back to," said Sawa. As he began to process this loss, he wondered if he was born and raised as part of a modern generation that grew up in illusory new towns. Modern new towns that were once built to spur on the development of satellite towns are now being phased out. Sawa wonders if the notion of home has changed; where a home was once a symbol of hope for society and embodied the dreams of every individual, such an era may have ended.


Creativity can mean many things, but it is also the ability to respond to new and unfamiliar circumstances in a way that makes sense. SHINCHIKA's works were in part a response to the generation and times in the 2000s. Their method of collaboration was derived from digital media and the coincidences that came with it. On the other hand, Hiraki Sawa has silently created and kept his creative motor going all these years, developing a unique aesthetic that also functions as his own outlet for understanding his personal encounters.