Imagined Peripheries: Masanori Handa, Yayoi Kusama, Firoz Mahmud, Nobuaki Takekawa, Yeesookyung


Ota Fine Arts Singapore is delighted to present "Imagined Peripheries", a group exhibition by 5 artists from East Asia: Masanori Handa (Japan), Yayoi Kusama (Japan), Firoz Mahmud (Bangladesh), Nobuaki Takekawa (Japan) and Yeesookyung (South Korea). This exhibition is a contemplation on the various scenes which contain full of forgotten, unnoticed or unspoken stories. Through their art works, these 5 artists move our attention to such imaginative sceneries in relation to historical and geographical references, nature and the universe, as well as reflection on the self.

Nobuaki Takekawa (b. 1977) and Firoz Mahmud (b. 1974) take their artistic theme from the history of the regions they are rooted in. Takekawa pays his attention to the historical issues in East Asia, and for both his painting Heptiamond of East Asia (2016) and installation work Celestial Sugoroku (2016) in this show, he uses old maps from the WWII period as a base, and on top he places Japanese board game Sugoroku to depict the multi-layeredness of history. For the installation work, he also arranges ceramic pieces on the surface, which reveals Takekawa's playful artistic language. Mahmud's historical interest goes further south to India. His painting Traitor of Faith [plot 2 #Shiraj &Mir] (2010) is based on the long battle between the Nawab of Bengal and the British East Indian Company during the rule of the Mughal Empire in the 17th Century. Narrating the stories of the past through his works, Mahmud juxtaposes themes of socio-political culture, tradition, history, myths and pop culture, creating a new visual territory addressing the rich histories of his native land.

On the other hand, the other three artists focus more on their internal landscapes. Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) presents her imaginative wonderland through her abstract expression. Her paintings in this exhibition are part of two of her most important series - "Infinity Nets" series (1950s - present) as well as "My Eternal Soul" series (2009 - present). "Infinity Nets" series is filled with the accumulation of infinity arcs drawn by elaborate brush strokes. The irregular bumps produced by each arc, and their continuously changing surfaces caused by the light and each of their shades, maintains a strong materiality and creates an eternally repeating rhythm which intrigues the audience. "My Eternal Soul" is characterized with the flowering of her long-standing interest in the universal, her longing for immortality through her art. Not forgetting her signature pumpkin motif, this exhibition also presents her stainless-steel pumpkin sculpture with multi-coloured dots.

Masanori Handa (b. 1979) and Yeesookyung (b. 1963) garner their inspiration from daily livelihood rather than great historical or social events. Handa's world is one of playful, impressionistic, yet nonetheless contemplative experimentation. Presented in this exhibition are drawings from his series "nakakiyo no entakukei" (2015 - present), which is based on a traditional Japanese poem known for an expression of a long, humid night. His use of rich, bold watercolours and oil pastels forms powerful and arresting depictions of surreal, imagined sceneries. Sites, scenery, and urban phenomena are the loci at which incidents are recorded and vividly remembered by Handa. Yeesookyung's drawings were made by the artist on a daily basis, serving as a meditative and cathartic process to heal her personal wounds. The motif of the mandala, a spiritual and ritualistic symbol, is repeated in each drawing, expressed in various colours and forms. They are accompanied by whimsical illustrations and repetitive patterns.

These artists' works range from painting, sculpture, drawing to mixed media, and through vastly different approaches, one can experience narratives of worldly social issues and private stories, from the macro cosmos to the micro details. Ota Fine Arts Singapore welcomes you to experience each of their unique forms of expression.

Installation Views