NANZUKA is pleased to present “The Yellow Portal,” a solo exhibition of new works by Ryuichi Ohira held concurrently at NANZUKA 2G and 3110NZ.
Ryuichi Ohira was born in 1982 in Tokyo, and was raised in the Chiba Prefecture. He received a DFA in Sculpture from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2011. Ohira has showcased his work in a variety of forms in numerous exhibitions and projects. Major presentations include his solo exhibition “Boken Yaro” at the Tsuruoka Art Forum (2012), the exhibition and dedication of his large-scale sculptural piece TONGARIMARU at “Yorishiro Project” (2013), the solo exhibitions “Magnificent View” (NANZUKA, 2014) and “RYUICHI OHIRA” (GALERIE VERA MUNRO, Hamburg, 2015), and the group exhibition “JP POP UNDERGROUND” (Shinsaibashi PARCO Event Hall, Osaka, 2020).
The black that Ohira employs in his work is achieved through the carbonization of wood, whereby the color of the material changes to a charred jet-black hue due to a chemical reaction caused by the effects of fire. By adopting a method of expression that can only be realized with wood, Ohira’s work are implicative of themes such as the natural environment and human acts of creation, as well as the innumerable relationship between expression and energy. In addition, Ohira, who is also an avid car enthusiast, has created works that delve into Japan’s custom car culture, which in itself is already becoming a legacy of the past. In recent years the so-called custom culture of remodeling old and depreciated automobiles as a “styling” statement has come to be reassessed, and Ohira depicts a part of this culture by means of comical expressions that unfold through his work. Furthermore, he continues to express things like yokai (supernatural monsters, spirits, apparitions in folklore), demons, and mythical creatures that have been passed down in Japan since ancient times, and which have served to shed light upon the dark aspects of human society.
This exhibition features Ohira’s latest series of relief paintings carved out of wood that he has newly been engaging in, as well as pots carved from logs of camphor and zelkova trees, and a wooden sculpture of a demon girl. Amidst the current Covid-19 pandemic, Ohira engaged in a pursuit to unravel the history of art which has continued to depict pathogens and viruses through personifying them as demons and evil unworldly beings, and in doing so created works that incorporate mystical and ritualistic elements and details such as parts used in old Buddhist statues and the wings of jewel beetles.
The exhibition reflects the artist’s intention to give shape to nature that is beyond the realm of human control, and various phenomena that cannot be visibly perceived. We hope viewers will take this opportunity to witness the artist’s latest creative endeavors.