Waltz of the Triangle – The Heart-Shaped Pizza for Today –
FIR GALLERY is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of Japanese artist Kitashima Takuya in China, “Waltz of the Triangle – The Heart-Shaped Pizza for Today – ”, continuing Kitashima’s creative origins of fantasy and non-daily imagination. Through observing and reflecting on entities and issues in real life, Kitashima engages in imaginative creation with a strong personal consciousness, making art a visual output medium for sharing self-insight and communicating with others.
This exhibition presents over twenty paintings and sculptures from Kitashima Takuya’s latest artworks. This series of works originated from Kitashima’s observation that, after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the sudden disaster became the reason for people’s spiritual dependence on the unknown field – because of the turmoil and imbalance in the real world, which placed people in a gray area between “reality” and “unusual” at the spiritual level. At the same time, driven by the harsh environment of the global pandemic in recent years, Kitashima realized that the concept of “festival (祭り),” which carries people’s spiritual sustenance, has extraordinary significance and discussion value today, despite being a more traditional concept. Therefore, he focused on “festivals” and referred to folk activities related to divinities, gradually conducting in-depth learning and research on different folk cultures.
When tracing the origins of this series of works, it is not difficult to find that Kitashima integrates classic visual symbols from various cultures with his own created images and cleverly gives reasons for each “combine.” For example, the puppet theater (人形浄瑠璃) in Tokushima Prefecture (徳島県) is based on the belief in human figures – the belief that objects in the shape of human figures are closer to the divinities than humans themselves; the Sagimai (鷺舞) in Tsuwano (津和野) and the Yatsushika and Ushioni (八鹿と牛鬼) in Ehime Prefecture (愛媛県) use the way of “wearing animals on the body” to vividly interpret how people understand the relationship between themselves and the “non-human” others, and also convey a kind of worship of animals that has existed since ancient times. In other words, the folk culture that revolves around keywords such as spirituality, mystery, and perceptiveness, the Kitashima’s imagination based on high empathy, has always had the same hidden thread. The dream-like works and the human warmth inherent in culture are naturally linked, mutually corroborating each other under the dual action of humanity and spirituality.
Kitashima’s passion for literature has also led him to bring his literary thinking into his artistic creation. A worldview that combines philosophy and humor, that is, “in this world, people believe that triangular things have great power, such as origami, rice roll, pizza, crepes, strawberry cakes, which can trigger transformation and some kind of change.” This setting comes from the hypothesis of folklorist Kunio Yanagita (柳田國男): “the triangular shape of the mochi made for New Year and other celebrations throughout Japan may be related to the shape of the human heart.” Kitashima believes that although it is impossible to determine whether our common perception of “triangles” is a natural idea, what he portrays in his works is not a specific place but freely imagining different possibilities with a particular collective memory of people. Just as Kitashima uses curve lines to depict sharp angles, he always emphasizes people’s “experience” in his works. That explains why Kitashima Takuya’s artworks have an easily approachable aesthetic while reiterating that the purpose of art is not to “reject.”