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