Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Yuichi Higashionna. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York, following a project room show in 2008.
Higashionna’s installations are comprised of fluorescent light sculptures, paintings, and reverberating stripes inspired by interior design of 1970s Japan, and fanshii culture – that which is odd, cute, diminutive, and frequently tacky. The artist is particularly interested in exploring the excess, ostentation and domestic kitsch that developed out of Japan’s admiration and desire for Western cultural appropriation following the war. As a result, his works are a tribute to these themes, and may be seen in part as a satirical commentary on Japanese aesthetics, or as a symbol for the re-building and revitalization of post-Hiroshima Japan. Higashionna pursues installations that are familiar in their materials and individual components, yet presents them in a base, halting manner.
In the main gallery, Higashionna combines his fluorescent sculptures along with paintings inspired by street graffiti, Op art, and fanshii. These paintings are installed atop textured wallpaper that looks as though the wall itself is peeling away. Each work is illuminated from below by a tubular fluorescent bulb that provides a pervasive light. These disparate elements, while familiar, are here stylized and haunting in their amalgamations.
Juxtaposed with the paintings are the artist’s sculptural constructions composed of everyday Japanese fluorescent lights. Simple in structure and utilitarian in nature, Higashionna uses circular bulbs, common to private residences, as the foundation for a large-scale chandelier and a vertical chain of lights mounted on the wall. The resulting sculptures are a paradox of elegant light forms and dangling exposed electrical wires. This “un-finished” presentation with its alien glow further highlights the strange that exists within the quotidian.
Other elements in the show – the black striped walls, the elastic lattice wall piece, the crude mobiles of Venetian black glass, and the sculptures constructed of colorful acrylic-framed mirrors – explore the borders and boundaries created between interior and exterior, contributing to a sense of the simultaneously familiar and the uncanny that pervades Higashionna’s practice.
Yuichi Higashionna lives and works in Tokyo. In 2010, he was included in the exhibition The New Décor at the Hayward Gallery in London and had solo shows at the Berengo Akatsu Collection, Japan, Nadiff Gallery 2F, Japan, and Gallery EXIT in Hong Kong. His work was featured at The Sculpture Garden Museum VANGEI MUSEO in 2009, a solo exhibition at Yumiko Chiba Associates in 2008, and at Comme des Garçons’ flagship store in 2006.