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Amplitude

Kenji Arimoto

17 October - 20 November 2021

The exhibition "Amplitude" is the result of the artist’s work during the last two years. Staying at his studio in the mountains of Mie prefecture, Kenji Arimoto examines his own experience of "isolation", often exaggerating reality and treating it somewhat ironically. Here the perception and expression of physical feelings is very strong and is influenced by the intimacy of representations. Severity and gravitation, loneliness and dependency on news and information, light, color, smell - everything encourages the reinterpretation of reality, with feelings swinging from one extreme to another like waves, while their amplitude reflects the disjuncture between the starting points in perception of materiality and time. This is a very personal experience in the context of isolation. Reflecting on the events of the past or attempting to model the future, the mind of the artist moves within a breadth of amplitude which has no footing in the present. Observations over the surrounding world provide topics for artistic work, but they cannot be perceived literally - their metaphorical meaning is brought to the fore and becomes more important. 

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Kenji Arimoto

Mountain, Sea, Sand, 2021

Oil on canvas

145.5 x 145.5 cm | 57'2 x 57'2 in.

"I remember, in 2016 I drew landscapes of Nabari in Mia prefecture (some fields not far from Asahi city). The place of my presence and my disappearance, (not sure if it changed since) - it's just an image for me. It's an abstract, but I only remember the good. The memories turn into history. Oil paint and brushes create new images."

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Kenji Arimoto

Mountain, Sea, Concrete, 2021

Oil on canvas

65.2 x 53 cm | 25'7 x 20'8 in.

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Kenji Arimoto

Mountain, Sea,  River Tamsui, 2021

Oil on canvas

41 x 31.8 cm | 16'1 x 12'5 in.

Kenji Arimoto Studio Views

The artist uses objects as memory triggers. Every object contains its own hidden history leaving space for interpretations. Soft colors, svelte forms, blurred silhouettes interchange with sharp cut lines or angles and saturated paints. Taken together the works create tension born of the contrast between the trivial and the context it’s placed in. Thus, connotations are distorted and mystify as in a thriller. For example, representations of kewpie dolls and their heads in vacuum, crosses the boundaries of a children’s game to cause the feeling of anxiety and evil premonition. The detailed depiction of tiny faces outside their role in a child’s game brings forth a strange feeling of a desolated home, terminated childhood and nostalgia. The same feelings are expressed through the works "Move Heart to Birds" and "Move Heart to Birds II", where one sees only the silhouettes of children standing side by side as if in a photograph which has lost its precision and has become fuzzy. Such images convey the sorrow of losing things.

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Kenji Arimoto

Move Heart to Birds, 2021

Acrylic on canvas

53 x 45.5 cm |  20'8 x 19'9 in.

According to the artist, this poem by Du Fu has been an inspiration for such feelings.

Spring Prospect

 

The nation shattered, mountains and river remain;

city in spring, grass and trees burgeoning.

Feeling the times, blossoms draw tears;

hating separation, birds alarm the heart.

Beacon fires three months in succession,

a letter from home worth ten thousand in gold.

White hairs, fewer for the scratching,

soon too few to hold a hairpin up.

 

Burton Watson: The Selected Poems of Du Fu

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Kenji Arimoto

Move Heart to Birds II, 2021

Oil on canvas

45.5 x 38 cm |  19'9 x 14'9 in.

 

 

 

Kenji Arimoto

On The Old Asphalt, 2021

Oil on canvas

41 x 41 cm | 16'1 x 16'1 in.

 

Kenji Arimoto

Kawataredoki, 2021

Oil on canvas

45.5 x 38 cm | 17'9 x 14'9 in.

Arimoto bestows his own meaning on surroundings which may better be perceived intuitively and subconsciously rather than literally. Under the artist’s will the same elements may express tragedy and drama or through the use of irony acquire completely different interpretation. The artist expresses his attitude by masterfully changing the angle of view and through using various media creates mini stories with a wide spectrum of perceptions, often ending with absurd arrangement of objects which creates ironical meaning, as in the works Entrance Marker or Each Eye.

 

 

 

Kenji Arimoto

Entrance Marker, 2021

Acrylic on canvas

100 x 80.3 cm |  39'3 x 41'6 in.

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Kenji Arimoto

Each Eye, 2021

Acrylic on canvas

33.3 x 24.2 cm | 13'1 x 9'5 in.

Arimoto chooses various media means - from photography and painting to clay and wood - depending on their ability to express a certain image and implication. Landscapes may be represented figuratively or nearly abstractly and are deemed to convey the light and "substance" of the landscape, its image in the artists’s mind.

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Space and air are very important in the "portraits" of objects. Objects and subjects on the canvas look like outlines of fading entities. Empty light spots urge us to think about incompleteness, objects seem to be taken unaware at the moment of their emergence into sight. By making something like frames, the artist attempts to connect objects to the ground and at the same time asserts theirs transience. This gives a presentation the nature of "belonging"- through depicting something the artist becomes the owner of the object as well as the time of its creation. We always feel the subjectivity of his view. 

 

 

 

Kenji Arimoto

Upside Down Deer, 2021

Acrylic on canvas

47.5 x 38.5 cm | 18'7 x 15'1 in.

Reminiscences, associations with the past, but also new perceptions of reality comprise the basis of Arimoto’s works. Diluted and soft pallet, abstract and figurative forms create a metaphorical world of ambivalent reality. Living in his isolated studio conceived by the artist as "an island of security," he nevertheless always expects the news to come. This excites the artist, keeps him in tension and gives birth to the feeling of fluctuations, where tranquility is interspersed with anxiety. Such mood is well presented in his works at this exhibition.

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Kenji Arimoto

Horse, 2021

Acrylic on canvas

33.3 x 24.4 cm | 13'1 x 9'5 in.

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Kenji Arimoto

Baby Toys I, 2021

Acrylic on canvas

φ30 cm |  11'8 in.

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Kenji Arimoto

Baby Toys II, 2021

Acrylic on canvas

φ30 cm |  11'8 in.

 

 

 

Kenji Arimoto

Baby Toys III, 2021

Acrylic on canvas

33.3 x 24.4 cm | 13'1 x 9'5 in.