Yutaka Aoki, Untitled, 2023
Yutaka Aoki / Levels of Intimacy
Aug 26 – Sep 30, 2023
Kosaku Kanechika
Tokyo, Japan

Yutaka Aoki expands the scope of painting through an examination of the relationship between painting and the surrounding world, and through the many new possibilities that are born from that exchange. This exploration results in works that migrate freely between two- and three-dimensionality, and in works that respond not only to the material and production process, but also to their relationship with the audience’s gaze. Aoki’s approach also seeks to capture the ever-changing countenance of paintings, articulated as single moments along the axis of time. By repeated experimentation and the application of newly discovered processes, Aoki is continually rediscovering painting itself.

Aoki provided the following statement about the exhibition, which will be his sixth solo show at Kosaku Kanechika.

On a visit to the ruins of the historic city of Ayutthaya, I witnessed the aftermath of the destruction of faith – walls falling apart, and Buddhas without their heads.
At the base of a Bodhi tree there was a particularly large Buddha head.
The head, peeking out from a mass of tangled roots, gazed upwards at the people from the ground.
To whom did the shadow that fell there belong?
The shadow, in which the Bodhi tree and Buddha head mixed, one atop the other, was at once a shadow of the tree and the head, which accepted the tree as its body, as well as part of myself and others standing there.
I felt a sense of intimacy with that environment that was in stark contrast to the sight in front of me.
I perceived the interconnection and mutual osmosis of the different elements that existed in that space, with the tree, basking in sunlight, at their point of intersection.
In this exhibition, I aim to entrust the body to causalities aroused by the artwork, and consider where that takes the body.
The exhibition title is borrowed from one of the topics in Peter Zumthor’s lecture “Atmospheres.”

With the tree as the point of intersection, a plethora of elements became interspersed, intermingling and permeating one another. This occurs in Aoki’s work, as well. He describes his thought process in the following way. “Confronting lines and injecting color, liquid particles adhere to a surface. Becoming one with their direct environment, this creates a particular hue. By creating a situation in which time intersects with various peripheral elements, the painting gains momentum and reflects the present.”

Aoki’s paintings suggest that sensibility and rationality, history and the present, chance and certainty, spirituality and materiality are harmonious, not contradictory. His work questions the division between painting and other forms of expression, and the separation of art from other fields. In doing so, Aoki is able to explore untapped realities and grapple with ideals that are only present through the act of painting.

Ranging from large-scale pieces to the artist’s studies, “Levels of Intimacy” at Kosaku Kanechika features fifteen new works by Aoki.