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Parallel

24 June - 11 August 2018

Kenji Arimoto's artworks illustrate the artist’s approach to the surrounding world as a multi-layered system that consists of many storylines, which develop parallel. Parallel narratives are born at different moments, their connections are not always obvious, but still they do exist. As the artist states, he is investigating the nuances of implications of parallel developments in different surroundings. Time in this world does not flow lineally, but is chaotic.

His paintings present the urban anthropocentric reality and the reality of wild nature which do not exist in duality but rather on two sides of one frontier. This frontier is the line, which articulates their difference and reciprocal penetration. In the result, the duality of parallelism is reflected from both sides.

The artist provides a simple example of a deer which is worshiped as a God in some places, but as soon as the deer destroys the agricultural crops it becomes a wild and dangerous beast - a criminal which should be slaughtered or cast out for the health and prosperity of the society. The execution of a deer in Draining Blood (2016) with its logic of creative destruction may facilitate a dialogue between Arimoto’s images and the viewer, contribute to reading the narratives in much broader social context.

Absorbing or being absorbed, tension between the destruction and creation are important subjects for Japanese young generation. In this sense, Arimoto’s series What is Control ? (2017) and painting Whose Result (2016) assert his vision about a moral universe in which young Japanese interact. By assuming various roles in his story viewers may take their places in that order and make sense of various models of power relations played out in the narrative.
Arimoto’s imagery of violence - broken, pulled apart and violated bodies, death - like in Age of Food Shortage (2016) is quite repulsive by its very nature, but alluring as well. These seeming contradictions impart to Arimoto images a visual logic of push-pull effect - they simultaneously bring views closer and push them away. This push-pull effect facilitates the contemplation of the scenes of cruel nature.
Probably such physical, spatial and emotional deformations raise empathy and in some cases even honest fascination in the viewers. Empathy encourage the viewers, at least mentally, to share physical and mental sensations enacted before them. Esther Cohen called it philopassionism or placing premium on suffering as a means of treating the soul’s ills. Through gruesome forms of violent scenes in wild nature Arimoto can depict his own identity (imagined or real). This canvases work for him as scapegoats, as a way to overcome negative experience, regenerate and endure his mental and social universe and to understand various models of power relations.
Alluring repulsiveness of Arimoto paintings and installations provide an intriguing set of lenses through which we can view acts of violence and locate them within wider philosophical framework. Through representations of bodily sufferings or perished animals, sometimes resembling people, the viewer sees the collision of two worlds ‒ the debunking and depreciation of the world of nature, but also the wreckage of abstractions nourished by people. Aritomo’s works call us to realize the inevitability and imminence of the flow of events that develop not in accordance with the human will but rather in conformity with the Providence. His works make us contemplate whether we can change the course of development or perish, like animals, through the encounter with something more powerful and inevitable.

Absorbing or being absorbed, tension between destruction and creation are important subjects for Japanese young generation. In this sense, Aritomo Kenji may be quite representative. His works illustrate the artist’s approach to the surrounding world as a multi- layered system that consists of many storylines, which develop parallel. Parallel narratives are born at different moments, their connections are not always obvious, but still they do exist. As the artist states, he is investigating the nuances of implications of parallel developments in different surroundings.

Aritomo’s paintings present the urban anthropocentric reality and the reality of wild nature which do not exist in duality but rather on two sides of one frontier. This frontier is the line, which articulates their difference and reciprocal penetration. In the result, the duality of parallelism is reflected from both sides.

The artist provides a simple example of a deer which is worshiped as a God in some places, but as soon as the deer destroys the agricultural crops it becomes a wild and dangerous beast - a criminal which should be slaughtered or cast out for the health and prosperity of the society. The execution of a deer in Draining Blood (2016) with its logic of creative destruction may facilitate a dialogue between Arimoto’s images and the viewer, contribute to reading the narratives in much broader social context.

Arimoto’s series What is Control? (2017) and painting Whose Result? (2016) assert his vision about a moral universe in which young Japanese interact. By assuming various roles in his story viewers may take their places in that order and make sense of various models of power relations played out in the narrative.

Arimoto’s imagery of violence - broken, pulled apart and violated bodies, death - like in Age of Food Shortage (2016) is quite repulsive by its very nature, but alluring as well. These seeming contradictions impart to Arimoto images a visual logic of push-pull effect - they simultaneously bring views closer and push them away. This push-pull effect facilitates the contemplation of the scenes of cruel nature.

Probably such physical, spatial and emotional deformations raise empathy and in some cases even honest fascination. Empathy encourage viewers, at least mentally, to share physical and mental sensations enacted before them. Esther Cohen called it philopassionism or placing premium on suffering as a means of treating the soul’s ills. Through gruesome forms of violent scenes in wild nature Arimoto can depict his own identity (imagined or real). This canvases work for him as scapegoats, as a way to overcome negative experience, regenerate and endure his mental and social universe and to understand various models of power relations.

Alluring repulsiveness of Arimoto paintings and installations provide an intriguing set of lenses through which we can view acts of violence and locate them within a wider philosophical framework. Through representations of bodily sufferings or perished animals, sometimes resembling people, the viewer sees the collision of two worlds ‒ the debunking and depreciation of the world of nature, but also the wreckage of abstractions nourished by people. Aritomo’s works call us to realize the inevitability and imminence of the flow of events that develop not in accordance with the human will but rather in conformity with the Providence. His works make us contemplate whether we can change the course of development or perish, like animals, through the encounter with something more powerful and inevitable.

 
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In Confusion
Same As Usual
Action and Reaction
Draining Blood
Age of Food Shortage
The Life That Was Forced to a Condition I
The Life That Was Forced to a Condition II
Inside or Outside
 
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Arimoto Kenji was born in1991 and spent his youth in a remote new town in the mountains. After the enrollment in Kobe University he began studying architecture and entered the painting world with a bright and often violent, even cruel visual statements.