EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow

EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART TOKYO.

Sat. 20 Nov, 2021 – Wed. 23 Feb, 2022
Left: Critical, 2021
Water, sand, mirror, Dimensions variable
Right: White Painting series, 2017
Canvas, 160 × 160 cm, Private collection

Outline

An installation of an endless repetition of the ocean horizon. Image / Imagine #1 man a sculpture that can only be seen with reservations, was made entirely by hand in total darkness and exhibited in a room of total darkness. “No one has ever seen it, not even the artist. And it will be that way forever”.

An oil painting with gradations of pale rainbow colors made up of countless points. Giant rubble, a sculpture of ruins. A ray of golden rain, never seen before.

EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow by Eugene Kangawa. Eugene Kangawa is the youngest artist ever to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, which has hosted solo exhibitions by some of the greatest Japanese contemporary artists in the past, including Yayoi Kusama and Yoko Ono.

By the end of the exhibition period, more than 3,000 people a day waited for 2 to 3 hours to see the exhibition, which had “The Power of Imagination” at its core. Tickets sold out, and it was an epoch-making exhibition that attracted a great deal of attention, for a number of reasons including the fact that it was the first time an artist born in the Heisei era held a solo exhibition there.

*This page is a part of the solo exhibition EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow 2021.11.22-2022.02.23 archive page (Organized by Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo operated by Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture).
Critical, 2021
Water, sand, mirror
Dimensions variable

What he pursues is “the power of imagination”.

“— The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11 made us aware of the existence of ‘invisible matter’ (radioactivity). Simultaneously, with the spread of the ‘invisible community’ (SNS), many Japanese people, including myself, needed to expand their imagination in these two areas. I believe that the ‘power of imagination’ was unavoidably cultivated and installed in us unconsciously.”

“— Furthermore, due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, the consciousness that we acquired over 10 years ago has spread throughout the world.
If there is anything to be gained in this difficult decade. If there is one thing that we can take from what we have gained and connect it to our predecessors, what is it? It is ‘the power of imagination.’ ”
—Eugene Kangawa
(Interview / from EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow)

Some of his pivotal works include Image / Imagine #1 man (2021), White Painting (2017–), Light and shadow me (2021), Beyond good and evil, make way toward the wasteland. (2017), and Critical (2021).

Others have said that his participation in the research in biotechnology, agriculture, and education has influenced him to not pursue the superficial or functional aspects, but to appreciate the context, and the invisible, subtle things.

Critical, 2021
Water, sand, mirror
Dimensions variable

Eugene Kangawa (寒川裕人) was born in 1989 in the United States. He is known for his conceptual and self-reductive paintings and installations. His past exhibitions include de-sport: at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2020), 89+ at Serpentine Gallery, London (2014), and Phantosia (Shikkoku (EN: pitchdarkness)-noh) at The National Art Center, Tokyo (2019). In 2017, he was featured in The Age of Art × Technology (written by Daisuke Miyatsu, Kobunsha Shinsho) as one of the four leading artists in Japan, along with TeamLab and others.

6 Image / Imagine #1 man

Image / Imagine #1 man, 2021
Statue

“Sculptural work seen by reservation only. This sculpture of a “person” created by hand is a sculptural work that was created “in a state of complete darkness, where the statue is not visible at all during the entire process,” and “neither the artist himself nor anyone else” has ever seen it. Meaning, it is a sculptural work that “no one in this world has ever seen before”.
One by one, in a room of total darkness, each visitor was able to touch the actual statue. The substantial sculptural work accompanied by the intense experience attracted a great deal of attention, with reservations required and queues sometimes forming even before opening time. (The installation also took place in the dark. In other words, it is “a statue that no one has seen, nor will be able to see”. No one involved in the museum was informed of the size or materials used. The title of the work in Japanese is “Souzou (which means imagine/Imagination)” (in Japanese Kanji it means “(in your head) think of the statue”)).”


“...After experiencing the same work* (Image/Imagine #1 man, 2021, sculpture), one may be reminded of the strength of imagination given only to human beings. Humans have been inspired by such primordial prayers as the Lascaux cave murals and the Jomon clay figurines; they have felt the sanctity of the Western Wall even after the prohibition of idolatry; they have found the sublime in the several bands of color that the American painter Barnett Newman (1905-1970) painted on the colored surfaces.”
by Daisuke Miyatsu
〈A statue “forever unseen” touched in the dark. EUGENE STUDIO Exhibition〉
Read full story >
1 White Painting series, 2017
Juliette, Sandra, Mitch, Wills, Gillies, Ergas, Asheron, James, Lilly, Thomas. P, Elias, Sofia, Victoria, Mackay, Jamin, Amelius, Prince, Cathy, Valerie, Keiny, Peter, Dona, Sam, Zaret, Christina, Laurencie, Owel, James, Kairy, Frances, Thom, Sugay, Marien, Kinbary, Kalen, Morry, Callen, Mut, Elen, Bruno, Peter, Daele, Clara, Benjamin, Charlotte, Michael, Ryan, Ina, Diego, Javia, Candelas, Robin, Rucaro, Daniel, Rumi, Benney, Sarah, Emily, Jack, Peter, Kevin, Safiya, Trisha, Eric, Danielle, Paul, Floyd, Alexis, Carlos, Nydia, Samantha, Daniela, Michael, Dom, Matt, Todd, Ava, Cailin, Melissa, Kirby, Alexandra, William, McGuiness, Liliana, Francisco, Daniel, Patricia, Anna, Dalia, Ricardo, Diana, Maribel, Barbara, Gabriela, Cristel, Kenia, Lorenzo, Gladys, Alberto, Carlos
(from the series of White Painting)
2017
Canvas
160 × 160 cm
Private collection

White Painting series, 2017
Canvas

White Painting is only the collective name for the series, as each piece is titled with the names of the people who kissed the canvases - for instance, the names of about a hundred people.
There are 2 series of this work; one was done by calling out to people on the street in cities around the world (USA, Mexico, Italy, Taiwan...) and the other within a specific community unit such as “a certain family”.

for a certain family series (2018–)
The small for a certain family series(33.3×33.3cm), works done within the community unit of a specific family, began with the creation of a piece for the family of a friend of his.
Portraits on consciousness, timeless portrait-like works are now in possession of more than one family.

The title of the work will officially be “a series of names of all the family members”. For example, “Anna, Ryo, Erika”.
And if there are more family members - for example, they have children - the title of the work would also change. There is flexibility in the concept of family.
This is the smallest form of commission work, but it is also a commission work that lasts forever.

“— THE EUGENE Studio’s White Painting series (…) transforming the canvases into nomadic shrines to love and memory… White Painting series returns the monochrome to its iconic if uncertain place between a portal and a thing.”


From “Passion in Monochrome” (2018)
by David Gears, an art critic who contributes his writing to October magazine and other publications.

Read full story >
White Painting series
Still from video
For a certain family, 2019
(from the series of White Painting)
Canvas
33.3 × 33.3 cm
Private collection
11 Goldrain, 2021 #ユージーンスタジオ
Goldrain, 2019
Particle
Dimensions variable
Goldrain, 2019
Particle
Dimensions variable

Goldrain, 2019
Particle

Particles of gold and silver, silently and endlessly pouring down. This sculpture moves in a phenomenal way—completely different to water or dust.It has the same silhouette but never looks the same. The work was exhibited in natural light in Paris, and in darkness at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.


“...The serene space that leads to deep contemplation of things that exist there but are not visible, unpredictable things that cannot be controlled by human knowledge, is oblivious to time and a sight to behold.”
by Web Taiyo
〈The fertile imaginative possibilities presented by the serene space〉
Read full story >
3 Rainbow painting series, 2021
Rainbow Painting series
Group portrait (Surrounded surging crowd of people), 2021
Oil on canvas
788 × 292 cm
Private collection
Rainbow Painting series
Left: Group portrait (Hitonoyo), 2021 / Oil on canvas, 291.5 × 212 cm, Private collection
Center: Group portrait (Where are you?), 2021 / Oil on canvas, 294 × 214 cm
Right: Group portrait (Rainbow), 2021 / Oil on canvas, 244 × 184 cm, Private collection

Rainbow Painting series, 2021
Oil on canvas

In the oil painting, with its gradation of pale rainbow colors, upon closer inspection, one can see that countless human figures have been painted by brush, with the layers creating a complex gradation.
The shapes and colors are slightly different from one another. This is a “group portrait”.
The visitor passes through the sea into a brightly lit room surrounded by several of these paintings, each 3m high and up to 8m wide. All of the rainbow paintings on display will be transported to various locations, and the “group portraits” will continue to live on in yet another place.

“— Group Portraits
I thought to myself, we don’t need individual portraits right now, we need portraits of people—groups of people.

If you look closer, the people and the shadows they cast are each slightly different from the next. They appear to be countless groups, jostling and separated yet side by side. This place might be a continent or a country; it might be a virtual network. In any case, it is beautiful.”
Eugene KANGAWA
(Interview from EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART TOKYO, 2021-22)


“...we are all bound together as one big group in society. However, the people next to us are all different and have very different levels of proximity to each other. We cannot be integrated into each other, and differences are bound to emerge. And by recognizing the countless dots in the seemingly single large mass, we can also recognize that the mass was some kind of collective. I am projecting into my work the countless differences that would not be visible if I did not turn my interest to them. I think that the loneliness I felt during the pandemic, and the introspection I felt amid that loneliness, gave birth to these works that consider the individual and the collective.”
by WIRED Japan
〈A Journey into the “New Sea” of Consciousness: Highlights of the Exhibition by “EUGENE STUDIO”〉
Read full story >
Rainbow Painting series
Group portrait (Hitonoyo), 2021
Oil on canvas
291.5 × 212 cm
Private collection

Photos of the venue.

9 Light and shadow inside me, 2021
Light and shadow inside me, installation view
EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
Light and shadow inside me
07.21-08.23 in my house, in Tokyo, 2021
Aqueous dye on paper
107.6 × 155.7 cm
Private collection

“Painting by fading”
Light and shadow inside me, 2021
Aqueous dye on paper

A sheet of ink-coated paper is folded like origami and exposed to the sun for several weeks. The pattern was solely created ‘by the shadow of the picture’. It was created by the ‘principle of fading’. This work is both a painting and a photograph in the sense that it is subjected to the sun. It is characterized by the reductive nature of the ‘light and shadow of the painting itself’.

“— People and things ‘just by existing’ have both light and shadow.”

Model (production process)
2 Critical, 2021
Critical, 2021
Water, sand, mirror
Dimensions variable

Critical, 2021
Water, sand, mirror

The huge space is surrounded by mirrors on all sides, reflecting the waves of water, creating an endless horizon.
The natural light from the 19-meter-high ceiling changes the appearance of the space dramatically depending on the weather and time of day.

“— If the sea level were to rise, this would be the first place to sink beneath the waves.
I decided to bring the sea into this hall.
The real sea, water, needless to say, tsunamis, and sea level are a particularly important entity, especially for us.”

“...The work was inspired by the fact that the exhibition space is less than zero meters above sea level. The area around the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, which was located along Tokyo Bay in the Edo period and has taken on its present appearance through repeated land reclamation, implies that if global warming continues and the sea level continues to rise, there is a possibility that the area will be submerged under the sea.
This English title also seems to encompass the meaning of the Spratly Islands, the Senkaku Islands, and the territorial waters and territorial disputes over Takeshima, as well as the political issues of territorial waters and exclusive economic zones (EEZ), which are originally connected, but in which national and ethnic interests clash. Furthermore, the word ‘criticality’ means a state in which the equilibrium between the production and loss of neutrons in a fission chain reaction is maintained and the reaction is sustained. The association with this may be the friction in Asia over the discharge of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean.”

by Daisuke Miyatsu
〈A statue “forever unseen” touched in the dark. EUGENE STUDIO Exhibition〉
Read full story >
10 Beyond good and evil, make way toward the wasteland., 2017
Beyond good and evil, make way toward the wasteland., 2017
Ceramic, steel, wood, glass, ash, others
240 × 873 × 300 cm
Private collection

Beyond good and evil, make way toward the wasteland., 2017
Ceramic, steel, wood, glass, ash, others

Beyond good and evil, make way toward the wasteland is a sculpture made for the exhibition 1/2 Century later. The work is a reproduction of the pure white room from the final scenes of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey and made it go through the process of destruction. It is a ruin within a large glass case with dust-covered chairs, a bed, cabinets, chipped marble pillars, oil paintings, and other weathered items which appear to be from an old, forgotten room.

Toward the end of the exhibition, due to changes in the global situation, the landscape behind this glass display became, in a cruel way, contemporaneous and a real event.


“... The White Painting shown by Robert Rauschenberg in his 1953 exhibition caused an uproar—a “gratuitously destructive act” according to one critic.However, let us first remember that a work titled Black Painting was also displayed at the same time (this was lambasted as “handmade debris”). The EUGENE STUDIO’s exhibition enshrines a room that has been transformed quite literally into debris. This room is a replica of the movie set from the final scenes of 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, if we were to take our cues from the critique of the time, Beyond good and evil, make way toward the wasteland is, so to speak, “made-to-order debris” and the Black Painting of the modern era. In a sense, we might say that the monolith is not absent, but in union with the room. This is not by any means a wild idea; the presentation of a situation in which opposites are compatible within a work is an important perspective which also relates to the exhibition as a whole.”

Arata Hasegawa (born in 1988. Independent curator), from “‘1/2 Century later.’ - The Case of Conceptual Art” (2018)
Read full thesis >
7 This is also everything of this world, 2021

This is also everything of this world, 2021
Tin

Dozens of tin dice, with numbers of faces ranging from 1 to 120, rolled in a given place and left as they fall. The one that “is rolled every morning by the museum attendant”. The location and result of each die is thus the result of pure chance.
What is more, the dice are re-rolled daily, creating a new work every time. Repeated visitors to the exhibition say they have noticed the difference.

This is also everything of this world, 2021
Tin
Dimensions variable
5 Everything reflects the shining light toward me
Drawing series: Magic hour, 2021
Oil on brass
26.4 × 35.3 cm
Private Collection

Everything reflects the shining light toward me, 2021
Oil on brass / Oil, wax oil pastel on brass / Oil, gouache, grease pencil on brass / Brass, wood

This series of drawings is a rather special kind of “sketch diary” by Eugene Kangawa. Sometimes he directly sketches “landscapes/objects reflected in mirrors or brass metal,” and sometimes he enlarges the sketches and drawings based on them. It begins with the act of drawing what is reflected outside or inside from different angles.

Reflections cause light to appear from behind the paint, the ground and figure are frequently inverted, and the focus is never fixed.

4 Mr. Tagi’s room and dream # four-handed

Mr. Tagi’s room and dream # four-handed, 2014
Steel, wood, oil / wood, brass, glass, artificial leather, plaster

Twin Drums was one of Eugene Kangawa’s graduation projects in 2014, a “Research project into the history of sports by a fictional sports scientist.” At the time, the installation consisted of a number of objects, images, and fictional sports workshop devices related to sports, such as chance, probability, the origin of time, domain, dialogue, exchange, and community. This drum set is one of them, recreating the conditions after the workshop was done.


(*The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa hosted an exhibition in 2020 titled Desport, in which the title of the exhibition was Eugene’s graduation works (2013–2014). Detail >)
A maquette for drawing #It comes and goes, again and again, 2021
Brass, wood
100.1 × 50 × 50 cm
Mr. Tagi’s room and dream, Installation view
2013–2014
Research, Installation, Performance, Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Regrading of stories, 2021
Antique stained glass in early 1900s, aluminum, silver, glass, wood
Glass, Grisaille, mud, enamel on canvas

Our dreams, 2021
Video installation (Super 35mm digital black and white film)
Mr. Keith Williams, Ms. Pika Lee 4mins. 48sec. loop
Dimensions variable

A few commons(sky looked up by 36 people at one time), 2021
Inkjet print

Text / Interview Excerpt from external media | translated by the studio keeping in mind to translate literally

“... The infinitely quiet and beautiful space of EUGENE STUDIO’s work makes us think about the complexities of ‘being’ in the world. It is a space of deep contemplation and sorrow, but beyond all dualism, it presents the possibility of hope for the future and the ‘imagination’ for coexistence. ...”

“... A ‘sea’ appears in the atrium space from the second basement floor to the ground floor of the museum. The surroundings are covered with mirrors, and as one walks along the walls, one’s own image repeats endlessly along with the surface of the water as it ripples and shakes. ...”

“... Eugene Kangawa was born in the U.S. the same year the Berlin Wall fell. In the U.S. due to his father’s work, Kangawa later move to Takarazuka City in Hyogo Prefecture, where the Great Kansai-Awaji Earthquake struck when he was six years old. During his college years, Kangawa experienced the death of his mother, who was battling an illness ...”

“... The painted landscapes are sometimes reminiscent of Japanese paintings, sometimes of Monet's Waterlilies, and sometimes of the medieval ‘Memento Mori’. The hierarchy of ground and figure, reflecting things in transition and the things that capture them, becomes ambiguous, prompting reflection on ‘seeing’ and ‘perceiving.’ ...”

“... The infinitely quiet and beautiful space of EUGENE STUDIO’s work makes us think about the complexities of ‘being’ in the world. It is a space of deep contemplation and sorrow, but beyond all dualism, it presents the possibility of hope for the future and the ‘imagination’ for coexistence. The power to imagine the unseen is the power to advance our understanding of diversity and symbiosis. (Eugene Kangawa)

This belief may be the reason why he uses the name ‘STUDIO’, an artist name that evokes a variety of collaborations, rather than an individual name.”

“... A ‘sea’ appears in the atrium space from the second basement floor to the ground floor of the museum. The surroundings are covered with mirrors, and as one walks along the walls, one’s own image repeats endlessly along with the surface of the water as it ripples and shakes.
Inspired by the fact that the land where this space exists is below sea level, the work reminds the viewer of the ‘sea’ as a source of life and death, as well as a source of fertility and threat.
The large-scale installation, which allows natural light to enter the space and changes its expression over time, is impressive in terms of both scale and beauty.”

“... Eugene Kangawa was born in the U.S. the same year the Berlin Wall fell. In the U.S. due to his father’s work, Kangawa later move to Takarazuka City in Hyogo Prefecture, where the Great Kansai-Awaji Earthquake struck when he was six years old. During his college years, Kangawa experienced the death of his mother, who was battling an illness, and in the following year (2011), the Great East Japan Earthquake struck.
He has captured a wide range of events through his eyes, from world events to personal experiences including a month-long trip to Europe when he was in elementary school, and through his love of encyclopedias and illustrated books.
At the same time, he was interested in politics and sociology, and in this age of artificial intelligence research, he saw the potential in daring to work on the ‘things we don’t understand’, and chose to become an artist.”

“... The painted landscapes are sometimes reminiscent of Japanese paintings, sometimes of Monet's Waterlilies, and sometimes of the medieval ‘Memento Mori’. The hierarchy of ground and figure, reflecting things in transition and the things that capture them, becomes ambiguous, prompting reflection on ‘seeing’ and ‘perceiving.’ ”

by Web Taiyo 〈The fertile imaginative possibilities presented by the serene space〉
EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow, installation view
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

“… We will spend a tremendous amount of time doing reconstruction work in a city that was destroyed by the earthquake. Eastern Japan is still in the process of reconstruction, but through continued work, one day we shall be able to create a completely different city from the pile of rubble. Through the disaster, we must know that …”

“… The Japanese understand the power of the sea very well. At first, we wondered if we could pull up the Tokyo Bay seafloor as is and bring it to the museum. However, that would only allow us to see the seafloor as it is now, and nothing would come of it. So, we decided to create an imaginary sea here. In other words, the Japanese …”

“… We will spend a tremendous amount of time doing reconstruction work in a city that was destroyed by the earthquake. Eastern Japan is still in the process of reconstruction, but through continued work, one day we shall be able to create a completely different city from the pile of rubble. Through the disaster, we must know that something will come out of this kind of continuous ‘fruitless work’ even if we do not know the right answer. We continue to work with the belief that there is a horizon that can be seen by continuing to do so.’ ”
When something beyond one’s imagination is created, it triggers new imagination in others. Eugene Kangawa continues to ask questions through his art.”

“… The Japanese understand the power of the sea very well. At first, we wondered if we could pull up the Tokyo Bay seafloor as is and bring it to the museum. However, that would only allow us to see the seafloor as it is now, and nothing would come of it. So, we decided to create an imaginary sea here. In other words, the Japanese title of this exhibition Atarashii umi, meaning ‘A new sea,’ expressed in Critical is not a real sea, but an imaginary sea. We created a mirror in the vertical atrium space, from which we created an endless ocean and an endless horizon.”

by Pen 〈Interview with Eugene Kangawa, Artist|At the end of toil, expression beyond the imagination is born (Creative Challengers #62)〉
Right: Group portrait (Surrounded surging crowd of people), 2021
Oil on canvas, 788 × 292 cm, Private collection
Center: Group portrait (Mixed grey) #2, 2021
Oil on canvas, 116.7 × 116.7 cm, Private collection
Left: 03.03-04.06 in my house, in Tokyo, 2021
Aqueous dye on paper, 106.9 × 155.5 cm, Private collection

“... The exhibition begins with a series of White Paintings. Nothing is painted on the pure white canvases, but people from various cities around the world have kissed on this surface. When I checked the year of production, I found that the year 2017 was written on the canvas. This series was previously exhibited …”

“... Imagine Symbiosis without Coercion
‘What I felt throughout this exhibition was a desire to accept the diverse world as it is, in its entirety. EUGENE STUDIO’s work is not loud. They do not condemn or indoctrinate, but rather affirm others who have different ideas, present the fact that …”

“... The exhibition begins with a series of White Paintings. Nothing is painted on the pure white canvases, but people from various cities around the world have kissed on this surface. When I checked the year of production, I found that the year 2017 was written on the canvas. This series was previously exhibited in the solo exhibition THE EUGENE Studio 1/2 Century Later. (Nov 21(Tue) - Dec 24(Sun), 2017, Shiseido Gallery). The feelings of viewers in front of this work today are likely to be quite different from those of the past. At a time when masks have become the norm and avoiding contact with people is considered a righteous act, this work, made up of overlapping kisses of strangers, reminds us of a ‘pre-corona’ feeling that we have since long forgotten. Since this work is described as ‘architecture of worship’ and ‘also the smallest architecture’, a plate painting of a Russian Orthodox icon, Our Lady of Kazan, is exhibited in the same corner. Now the existence of the White Painting series itself seems to be a miracle that has come to fruition in the midst of the precious everyday life that was built on a delicate balance.”

“... Imagine Symbiosis without Coercion
‘What I felt throughout this exhibition was a desire to accept the diverse world as it is, in its entirety. EUGENE STUDIO’s work is not loud. They do not condemn or indoctrinate, but rather affirm others who have different ideas, present the fact that diversity exists, and encourage the viewer to imagine what true coexistence is (Note 7). It is a reminder that there are possibilities that only art can offer, without being intrusive. Looking back at the works, we also notice that many of EUGENE STUDIO’s works do not have a fixed ‘center’. A world without a center and margins, a world where flexible views coexist. This exhibition offers us the time to imagine such a world yet to be seen.’ ”

Writer
Monami Morikawa
Curator at Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, born in 1984 in Tokyo. Doctoral degree in the Department of Plastic Arts from Nihon University College of Art. Major projects include Japan Media Arts Festival: Fuji no Kuni Yamanashi (2013), Beauty, Yamanashi, Power! Women Artists in Yamanashi (2016), among others. She specializes in Western art history and East-West exchange in art. She is interested in marginal art and culture that crosses regions and media.

by Media & Art Current Contents by Bunka-cho (Agency for Cultural Affairs) Excerpt from Imagine what true symbiosis is EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow Exhibition Report by Media & Art Current Contents by Bunka-cho (Agency for Cultural Affairs)
EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow, Installation view
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

“… The exhibition space itself also has Eugene Kangawa’s typical attention to detail. The floor tiles in the exhibition space are from the EUGENE STUDIO atelier, and the sofa chair in front of the Rainbow Painting series and the museum attendant’s chairs were also brought in from his atelier and home. …”

“… My interpretation of ‘After the rainbow’ is that it is an ‘imaginary sea’. All the oceans on earth have been named, simply put, there are no more new oceans. Therefore, a new ocean is an entity that is not here but only in our imagination
(Eugene Kangawa)…”

“… I saw the Great Hanshin Earthquake and its reconstruction when I was a child living in the Hanshin area, and experienced the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami when I was a university student. I became aware of the reality of the existence of invisible substances (such as radiation), particularly after the March 11 Earthquake and …”

“… Eugene Kangawa rephrased it with the word ‘acceptance’. The changing self, the changing world, and the work as a receptacle for imagination. ‘The viewer must have room to engage with the work. This ultimately leads to the work facing and illuminating a variety of people. In fact, I think that many of the works …”

“… The exhibition space itself also has Eugene Kangawa’s typical attention to detail. The floor tiles in the exhibition space are from the EUGENE STUDIO atelier, and the sofa chair in front of the Rainbow Painting series and the museum attendant’s chairs were also brought in from his atelier and home.”

“… My interpretation of ‘After the rainbow’ is that it is an ‘imaginary sea’. All the oceans on earth have been named, simply put, there are no more new oceans. Therefore, a new ocean is an entity that is not here but only in our imagination (Eugene Kangawa)”

“… I saw the Great Hanshin Earthquake and its reconstruction when I was a child living in the Hanshin area, and experienced the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami when I was a university student. I became aware of the reality of the existence of invisible substances (such as radiation), particularly after the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami. This happened at the same time as the use of SNS grew. I think people were unconsciously imagining invisible people and communities. I felt that each problem, including the COVID-19 pandemic, was becoming more apparent. What if there was something I, we, could gain through this decade-long difficult situation? What if there is something we can do to transform the situation, instead of just standing by and watching them as an invisible force? As I kept thinking about all this, what came into view was ‘the power of imagination.’ ”

“… Eugene Kangawa rephrased it with the word ‘acceptance’. The changing self, the changing world, and the work as a receptacle for imagination. ‘The viewer must have room to engage with the work. This ultimately leads to the work facing and illuminating a variety of people. In fact, I think that many of the works in this exhibition easily reflect and reveal the viewer’s inner self. Through this exhibition, I am convinced once again that the timing of this exhibition is very important for this day and age, and that it is only possible through art and exhibitions.’ (Eugene Kangawa)”

by Casa brutus Excerpt from White paintings, invisible sculptures. What is the “power of imagination” that EUGENE STUDIO presents? by Casa Brutus
EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow, Installation view
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

“… Passing through the white cube with rows of white canvases, visitors step into the next space, where the world of the new work, Critical (2021), unfolds. The installation, an open-air atrium from the second basement floor to the second floor above ground, is surrounded by mirrors, creating the illusion of an endless horizon. …”

“… The work was inspired by the fact that the exhibition space is less than zero meters above sea level. The area around the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, which was located along Tokyo Bay in the Edo period and has taken on its present appearance through repeated land reclamation, implies that if global warming continues and …”

“… After experiencing the same work, one may be reminded of the strength of imagination given only to human beings. Humans have been inspired by such primordial prayers as the Lascaux cave murals and the Jomon clay figurines; they have felt the sanctity of the Western Wall even after the prohibition of idolatry …”

“… Passing through the white cube with rows of white canvases, visitors step into the next space, where the world of the new work, Critical (2021), unfolds. The installation, an open-air atrium from the second basement floor to the second floor above ground, is surrounded by mirrors, creating the illusion of an endless horizon. The entire floor is like an ocean with rippling waves lapping against it. The English title ‘Critical,’ which means ‘Sea bed” in Japanese, refers to the border of the sea, or a critical point that represents a margin or boundary.”

“… The work was inspired by the fact that the exhibition space is less than zero meters above sea level. The area around the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, which was located along Tokyo Bay in the Edo period and has taken on its present appearance through repeated land reclamation, implies that if global warming continues and the sea level continues to rise, there is a possibility that the area will be submerged under the sea.
This English title also seems to encompass the meaning of the Spratly Islands, the Senkaku Islands, and the territorial waters and territorial disputes over Takeshima, as well as the political issues of territorial waters and exclusive economic zones (EEZ), which are originally connected, but in which national and ethnic interests clash. Furthermore, the word ‘criticality’ means a state in which the equilibrium between the production and loss of neutrons in a fission chain reaction is maintained and the reaction is sustained. The association with this may be the friction in Asia over the discharge of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean.”

“… After experiencing the same work, one may be reminded of the strength of imagination given only to human beings. Humans have been inspired by such primordial prayers as the Lascaux cave murals and the Jomon clay figurines; they have felt the sanctity of the Western Wall even after the prohibition of idolatry; they have found the sublime in the several bands of color that the American painter Barnett Newman (1905-1970) painted on the colored surfaces.”

by Daisuke Miyatsu 〈EUGENE STUDIO Exhibition: “Eternally Unseen” Sculpture Touched in the Dark (Nikkei XTREND)〉
Study of Regrading of stories #S.U.M.M.E.R., 2021
Antique stained glass in early 1900s, aluminum, silver, glass, wood
185.3 × 66 × 71 cm

“… Kangawa says this about this work. Printing technology has advanced over time to avoid fading, and it has become difficult to encourage the opposite. From more than 200 experiments, Eugene Kangawa combined ink materials from Japanese and Dutch manufacturers with French paper used since 1600 …”

“… we are all bound together as one big group in society. However, the people next to us are all different and have very different levels of proximity to each other. We cannot be integrated into each other, and differences are bound to emerge. And by recognizing the countless dots in the seemingly single large mass …”

“… Kangawa says this about this work. Printing technology has advanced over time to avoid fading, and it has become difficult to encourage the opposite. From more than 200 experiments, Eugene Kangawa combined ink materials from Japanese and Dutch manufacturers with French paper used since 1600 to attempt fading caused by natural light.”

“… we are all bound together as one big group in society. However, the people next to us are all different and have very different levels of proximity to each other. We cannot be integrated into each other, and differences are bound to emerge. And by recognizing the countless dots in the seemingly single large mass, we can also recognize that the mass was some kind of collective. I am projecting into my work the countless differences that would not be visible if I did not turn my interest to them. I think that the loneliness I felt during the pandemic, and the introspection I felt amid that loneliness, gave birth to these works that consider the individual and the collective.”

by WIRED Japan 〈A Journey into the “New Sea” of Consciousness: Highlights of the Exhibition by “EUGENE STUDIO”〉
Goldrain, 2019
Particle
Dimensions variable

“… And recently, I found that ‘when a person’s gaze is distant or unfocused, the brain begins a movement called imagination’ - the movement of the eyes when they are unfocused is the brain’s way of prompting ‘imagining’ ...... this was one of the discoveries that I made. I noticed this when I was looking at my own work. …”

“… For two years now, I have been trying to limit information gained from the internet to no more than 5 minutes a day. Using application and screen-time restriction programs... only my partner knows the deactivation password... My only sources of information are a few newspaper apps, a combined total of 5 minutes. …”

“… And recently, I found that “when a person’s gaze is distant or unfocused, the brain begins a movement called imagination” - the movement of the eyes when they are unfocused is the brain’s way of prompting ‘imagining’ ...... this was one of the discoveries that I made. I noticed this when I was looking at my own work. For example, when I try to see the horizon, the sky beyond, or the shadows of a forest, my mind works to imagine what is coming, because I don’t know what will come when I try to see it. Maybe that’s how the abstract condition actually works. Since ancient times.”

“... For two years now, I have been trying to limit information gained from the internet to no more than 5 minutes a day. Using application and screen-time restriction programs... only my partner knows the deactivation password... My only sources of information are a few newspaper apps, a combined total of 5 minutes. Of course, I use messenger, maps, weather forecasts, etc.”

by Hanatsubaki Excerpt from EUGENE STUDIO’s vision of the future world and society through the medium of art by Hanatsubaki
Goldrain, 2019
Particle
Dimensions variable

“... In the much-discussed new work, Image / Imagine #1 man, the sculpture is placed in darkness, but the viewer cannot appreciate its entity. This work, which was completed in perfect darkness without even Eugene Kangawa or the sculptor involved in its creation ever seeing it, is an experiment in which the imagination ...”

“… In the much-discussed new work, Image / Imagine #1 man, the sculpture is placed in darkness, but the viewer cannot appreciate its entity. This work, which was completed in perfect darkness without even Eugene Kangawa or the sculptor involved in its creation ever seeing it, is an experiment in which the imagination of the “viewer” determines the nature of the work.”

by Numero 〈Long-awaited large-scale solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.〉
A maquette for drawing #It comes and goes, again and again, 2021
Brass, wood
100.1 × 50 × 50 cm

“... Exploring ‘Symbiosis’ and ‘Diversity’ through imagination... ‘EUGENE STUDIO’ Exhibition ...”

by Yomiuri shimbun 〈Exploring “Symbiosis” and “Diversity” through imagination... “EUGENE STUDIO” Exhibition〉
Highlights of the Exhibition “New Sea 新しい海” Approaching the Way the World Should Be (Excerpt from a handout produced by the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo)

White Painting series, 2017
Canvas

These white canvases appear to be blank, but in truth each one bears the overlapping traces of multiple kisses.
The works, each titled with a list of names, were created by reaching out to dozens of people— sometimes over a hundred—in cities around the world, including the United States, Mexico, Italy, and Spain. Each canvas, empty as it may seem, is an aggregate record of the thoughts and feelings of people of different countries, regions, and faiths. The viewer, too, irresistibly imagines each entry in the series object to be kissed. Works in the series have been created on a per-family basis since its inception, and this continues today. The COVID-19 pandemic meant cancellation of efforts to move the canvases from country to country, a sobering reminder of the frailty of our everyday lives, reliant on the slightest of gestures, urging us to consider anew our passage through this transitional epoch—a time where everything has changed in just a few short years.
Art critic David Geers calls these canvases “nomadic shrines to love and memory.” Their
juxtaposition with a 19th-century religious icon* at this exhibition presents them as a minimal construction, an architecture, outside the bounds of painting.

* The icon is thought to have been produced at the end of the 19th century. It was later equipped with an ornamental metal riza (cover), and further augmented by the artist.
Critical, 2021
Water, sand, mirror
Dimensions variable

Critical, 2021
Water, sand, mirror

The sea, source of all life, stretches out before the viewer like a garden, a margin between nature and the everyday. The sea is also a symbol of fertility, but it holds menace, too, knowledge of which fact has already been forced on a socialized humanity on countless occasions.
The Japanese title of this exhibition is Atarashii umi, meaning “A new sea,” and this work is a symbol of that idea. It invites us to discoveries beyond all binary oppositions— beyond acceptance or rejection, beyond birth or death. Ceaselessly dancing with each other and with the environments and beings around them, both sea and garden will continue to shape the future alongside us.

EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow, Installation view
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

Rainbow Painting series, 2021
Oil on canvas

The oil paintings in this series are pale gradations of color made up of countless points. Taking each point as a person, the artist has chosen a slightly different color for each
“individual,” allowing the work to coalesce into a portrait of a rainbow-colored crowd. The points are so crowded together on the canvas that they may seem connected, but in fact each is independent, with its own unique color, so that the whole becomes a rainbow.
Mixed grey may appear to be a gradation in pale grey at first glance, but when the viewer notices the individual points that constitute it, it becomes clear that this canvas, too, is adorned by a rainbow. As the titles indicate, each work is like a bird’s eye view of a different country, region, or community, serving as an opportunity to reflect on the individual and the collective, and the differences and similarities of our existence.

Critical, 2021
Water, sand, mirror
Dimensions variable

Mr. Tagi’s room and dream # four-handed, 2014
Steel, wood, oil / wood, brass, glass, artificial leather, plaster

This work is an attempt to reconstruct the architecture of sport by means of cerebral analysis through chess and the resonance of drums. The installation dates back to artist Eugene Kangawa’s student days, and was used to play a game at a 2014 workshop serving as his graduation piece.
Before its modernization and systematization, sport had an innate groove and ever-changing resonance, invisible and all but indescribable, that this work seeks to recover. The task of recovery is carried out through two contrasting elements: chess, sometimes called a “tabletop sport,” and a drumkit, modern descendent of primitive percussion instruments. When a game of chess is played here, accompanied by the heartbeat of the drums, the tension and excitement of those present fills the space.

Drawing series: Yellow flower field drawing, 2021
Oil, gouache, grease pencil on brass
305 × 600 cm

Everything reflects the shining light toward me, 2021
Oil on brass / Oil, wax oil pastel on brass / Oil, gouache, grease pencil on brass / Brass, wood

A series of paintings made using oil pastels, oils, and pencils on specially prepared brass. The brass sheets are made into multifaceted prismatic columns. These are then painted using a range of techniques. Some columns are carried outside and the scenery reflected on them painted over precisely. Other columns are painted to depict objects placed inside them, or reconstructions from sketches. In every case, the execution seems to trace the movement of the artist’s eyes from moment to moment, with multiple perspectives coexisting in countless layers. The works in this series also receive reflect those viewing them, as well as any other people coexisting in the space, and any events that occur there. This leaves them in constant flux. Sometimes the form of the viewer becomes the main motif and the designs painted on the brass the background, inverting figure and ground and urging us to reconsider the question of what our quotidian understanding depends on.

Image / Imagine #1 man, 2021
Statue

Image / Imagine #1 man, 2021
Statue

A single sculpture, installed in a pitch-black space. Not even the most determined visitor peering into the gloom will ever perceive its form. That sculpture was created in perfect darkness by the artist and a sculptor over a period of
three months. Not even the artist has seen the completed work, and neither have any of the people involved in its presentation at this exhibition. No size or media information for the work has been revealed, and even the word
“man” in the title only indicates that the sculpture depicts a person, with no specific gender intended.
In short, the only resource we have to confront this sculpture—a thing we are certain exists but can never behold—is our own imagination. As long as this work exists, imagined images of it will proliferate—as many as there are people who have experienced it.

This is also everything of this world, 2021
Tin
Dimensions variable

This is also everything of this world, 2021
Tin

This work is made up of a collection of dice of different types, with numbers of faces ranging from 1 to 120, rolled in the exhibition space and left as they fall. The location and result of each die is thus the result of pure chance. What is more, the dice are re-rolled daily, creating a new work every time. Contemplating This is also everything of this world as constituted by accidental and miraculous elements leaves the viewer no choice but to adopt a new perspective on the everyday.

Light and shadow inside me, 2021
Aqueous dye on paper

This series features gradations created by allowing bright green water-based dye to fade in a very specific way.
First, the dye is applied to a sheet of paper. The sheet is then folded into a prism, which is exposed to the sun over a period of weeks or months. The faces on the prism that receive the most sunlight fade dramatically, while those that remained largely in shadow remain a vivid green. The paper is then unfolded to reveal the finished gradation.
As the title hints, it is the prisms themselves that create the shadows, but the factors that cause the resulting gradations are not easy to imagine when the sheet of paper is unfolded and displayed as a flat work. This series is a pointed reminder that our way of comprehending existence unavoidably becomes multifaceted through environment and circumstance.
The very concept of fading can, furthermore, be reinterpreted as the original, pure material reappearing as the bright green dye is lost to natural light.

EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow, installation view
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
Beyond good and evil, make way toward the wasteland. , 2017
Ceramic, steel, wood, glass, ash, others
240 × 873 × 300 cm
Private Collection
Beyond good and evil, make way toward the wasteland., 2017
Ceramic, steel, wood, glass, ash, others
240 × 873 × 300 cm
Private collection

Goldrain, 2019
Particle

This work, consisting of gold and silver particles that fall like rain from the heavens, imparts different experiences to different viewers.
According to the artist, the ceaseless golden rain amid darkness resembles “the lees of life and death, or the sediment of vitality itself.” Ever drifting downward, never taking on the same form twice, the work may indeed inspire musings on the continuity of the series of accidents and miracles that culminate in the birth of a living being, or the threshold between life and death.

Production process

360゜View Tour: EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow

Exhibition Catalogue

Official catalog for the EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow, a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. The EUGENE STUDIO by acclaimed contemporary artist Eugene Kangawa is the first Heisei-born artist to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. The substantial artist book further explores the depths of the multifaceted world of his genre-defying works through a conversation with biologist Shinichi Fukuoka and an essay by American art critic David Geers, who has contributed to October (journal) and Frieze (magazine).
Available for purchase from the Museum Shop or below.

Year of Publication: January 2022 / Publisher: torch press / Size: B5 Modified
Specifications: Hardcover book binding / 220 pages *Choose from two types of covers.
Discussion: Shinichi Fukuoka (Biologist) & Eugene Kangawa
Discussant: David Geers (Art Critic), Harumi Niwa (Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo)
Languages: Japanese and English

Related Books

Official exhibition booklet by Bijutsu Techo and Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

The EUGENE STUDIO After the rainbow guidebook is now available to amplify our understanding of this exhibition and the EUGENE STUDIO. In addition to scenes from the production site and a long interview with Eugene Kangawa, the guidebook also includes a conversation with Dai Tamesue, who discusses the similarities between art and sports from the perspective of an athlete and an artist, and a conversation with architect Tsuyoshi Tane, which was held when he presented Shikkoku-Noh (The National Art Center, Tokyo) in 2019.
Available at the museum store in the museum. (Sold out)

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (supervisor), Bijutsu Techo editorial department (editor), published by HASHIBI LLC.

A limited re-sale of the 2017 special edition large catalog

A limited re-sale of the 2017 special edition large catalog with six essays.

[Essays]
David Geers (Art critic) – “Passion in Monochrome”
Kenichiro Ito (Shiseido Gallery curator) – “Toward the Connected “Art” written
Arata Hasegawa (Independent curator) – “ ‘1/2 Century Later.’ – In the case of conceptual art.”
Daisuke Miyatsu (Art collector) – “On the significance of THE EUGENE Studio toward the after 50 years”
Anna Kato – “THE EUGENE Studio 1/2 Century later. Skating Across Time”
Jean-Gabriel Ganascia (AI researcher at Pierre and Marie Curie University) – “A Wind Rose for the Digital Age The Cardinal Directions of Online Life”

[Overview]
THE EUGENE Studio 1/2 Century later.
“Series of White Painting”
Price: sold out
Size: Exterior 455mm x 305mm
Configuration: 3 parts [ Catalog / Collection of Theses(Japanese) / Collection of Theses(English) ]
Page: Catalog 90 pages, Collection of Theses(English) 74 pages, and Collection of Theses(Japanese) 70 pages.
Spec: Boxed in. Pages are removable as a sheet.
Publisher Shiseido Gallery (2019)

Scenery of the atelier, video interview with the artist
(approx. 4 min, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, official Youtube, July 2021)

Exhibition Period Sat. 20 November. 2021 – Wed. National Holiday. 23 February. 2022
Organized by Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo operated by Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture
Sponsored by GOLDWIN Inc., Shiseido Co., Ltd.
In Cooperation with Canon Marketing Japan Inc., PGI, SENTIDO Inc., MagnaRecta., Stanley Electric Co., Ltd.