LONG MUSEUM WEST BUND
The first solo exhibition in China by Japanese artist Ayako Rokkaku, titled 'Ayako Rokkaku: Close to Your Treasure,' will be presented at the Gallery 2 of Long Museum West Bund from May 27 to August 13, 2023. This momentous showcase spans over a decade, from 2006 to the present, with a captivating display of more than 130 artworks by Ayako Rokkaku. The wide-eyed girls depicted stand out in a dazzling and vibrant world of colors. This exhibition includes the artist's early doodles on corrugated paper and a collection of large-scale paintings. Additionally, many other series of artworks are on display, including the irregular canvas series featuring the theme of 'Cosmos in Battle,' the 'Flower Vase' series created on traditional wooden embryos, and the artist's first attempt at sculptural works using bronze as a medium.
Inspired by Japanese manga, Ayako Rokkaku's iconic portrayals of girls take center stage, adorned with their characteristic large eyes and exaggerated limbs. Her art pulsates with life, bursting forth in vibrant and fluorescent hues that envelop her creations, transporting viewers to a realm of fashion, cuteness, and romantic fantasy reminiscent of blooming fields, soaring skies, and rainbow clouds. Renowned for her intuitive approach, Rokkaku casts aside planned sketches, instead allowing her instinctual brushstrokes and the tactile impressions received through her fingertips to guide her artistic process. With a masterful touch, she conjures wandering girls emerging from abstract landscapes, achieving a mesmerizing interplay between the characters and the overlapping colors that resonate deeply on an emotional level. As the girls command the viewers' undivided attention, the undulating colors further amplify their power, encapsulating the essence of persistence found in both constant evasion and relentless pursuit.
The exhibition also features remarkable series of Ayako Rokkaku's recent works from 2020, including the captivating 'Cosmos in Battle' series. Embark on a weightless journey through space, where characters gracefully traverse the cosmos. Ayako Rokkaku harmonizes rhythm and melody, seamlessly blending the background elements with the vibrant energy emanating from her maiden figures. With her artistic touch, she breathes life into her creations, imbuing them with a sense of weightlessness that liberates them from the constraints of gravity as if they could effortlessly leap off the exhibition walls.
Further enriching the exhibition experience, the 'Flower Vase' series points to Rokkaku's artistic mastery as she paints on handcrafted wooden vases skillfully crafted by traditional artisans. The natural texture of the wood harmoniously merges with the carefree and vibrant girls depicted, creating a captivating 360-degree visual experience that draws viewers into a world of enchantment. In a groundbreaking debut at this exhibition, Rokkaku unveils her foray into the realm of bronze sculpture, marking a profound exploration of new artistic mediums. Since 2011, Rokkaku has embarked on a journey to transform her two-dimensional girls into beautiful 3D statues, collaborating with the prestigious National Art Center in Japan. This section of the exhibition serves as a testament to Rokkaku's decade-long dedication and experimentation in the realm of three-dimensional art. It showcases her unwavering pursuit of new experiences and the boundless joy of creation that permeates every fiber of her being.
About the artist
Ayako Rokkaku, born in 1982 in Chiba, Japan, is a renowned and unconventional artist celebrated for her distinctive painting style. With a self-taught approach around age 20, Rokkaku abandoned brushes and embraced the tactile experience of using her hands to directly smear paint onto corrugated paper or canvas. Her talent was recognized in 2006 when she won the prestigious Akio Goto Prize at the GEISAI art event hosted by Takashi Murakami, propelling her toward international acclaim. Notable exhibitions followed at esteemed institutions such as the Kunsthal Museum in the Netherlands (2011) and the Danubiana Meulensteen Museum in Slovakia (2012), garnering significant international attention. Ayako Rokkaku maintains bases in Portugal, Berlin and Tokyo, where she continues creating and exhibiting her captivating works. In 2020, she had a large-scale exhibition at the Chiba Prefectural Museum of Art.
Throughout her career, Rokkaku has consistently discovered images through direct physical touch, guided by bodily sensations and vibrant colors sensed through her fingertips. Her art portrays wandering girls emerging from abstract landscapes, characterized by exaggerated limbs, manga-inspired large eyes, and captivating lips. Combining her experiences of childhood mischief, abstraction, and her identity as an Asian woman, Rokkaku's works exude originality and diversity, brimming with positive imagery. The vibrant backgrounds overflow with a multitude of colors, infusing the artwork with dynamic energy and gradually revealing a radiant and colorful world to the viewers.