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Ryo Kikuchi Solo Show
2017.3.31. (FRI) - 4.02. (SUN)
Frantic Gallery, Tokyo

 Things exist in their outlines, in the lines that separate them from other things while bringing them out (in) front from an indistinguishable oneness in their background that knows no differences, no oppositions, no division. What we perceive – a shape that is already a concept – is structured by language that constitutes the field in which our own place is providently marked. A glimpse of this unifying/unified “Nothing” re-emerges in categories of Buddhism (“無/Mu”) or Lacanian psychoanalysis (“The Real”) and is explored during meditation, philosophical insight, or poetic exaltation. Ryo Kikuchi chooses the visual form of artistic practice to engage in the plot of reality in an attempt to shift its premises, shake the distinguishability of perception and point to the unimaginable metaphysical backdrop of “no distinction.” 

 Three series of works (“Umbilical”, “Void” and “Idea”) presented at the “non/(division)” exhibition generate a fluctuation in the visible, where one becomes many, a presence becomes a “vanishing”, and the outline presents the shape but then dissolves it into the background. This show is an invitation to experience the plasticity of the world: “You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle,” as an expression that is intrinsic to martial arts – and to any other practice that strives to gain shapelessness through the work on form – puts it. This is the first solo show at the beginning of this young artist’s path that tries to turn “entity” into “phenomenon” and “substance” into alternating differences while opening a passage to the illuminating effects of blinding “non/(division)”.

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 “Umbilical” presents itself as a set. It consists of three wooden panels: a circle – or better yet a torus – in between two trapezoidal planes, which are all attached to the wall. The shapes produce a transition in appearance: after viewing them for a period of time, you begin to see something like a sphere floating in three dimensions between recessive planes. Nevertheless, you can shift your focus of perception and glide along the central umbilical line from left to right, or from right to left, to bring the parts into unity, creating “The One.” When approaching it, you will see your own eye reflected in the mirror at the very center of the donut-like torus that takes you inside the non-division of this Unity. “Umbilical 2”, playing in a similar way with the rules of perspective, presents the cell splitting in two, which takes the reverse movement toward the unification, if you let the centripetal movement of radiating lines process you into the center.
Umbilical, acrylic on wooden panel, 90x155x2.1cm, 2015
Umbilical #2, acrylic on wooden panel, 89.5×193.5×3.7cm, 2016
 The “Void” series presents vaguely visible landscapes or objects, which, while asking for closer observation, vanish in the rows of dots when actually viewed more closely, totally dismantling the possibility of a "proper distance" and breaking the constraining frame of the image. There is no place of comfort from which to take in this shape: it is either too close to you or too far, fluctuating between reappearing and vanishing; between the concept and the mechanical repetition of the similar dots.
Void #9, acrylic on panel, 80x80x2.4cm, 2016
Void # 11, acrylic on panel, 45x37cm, 2016
 “Idea” brings us to a cave with prehistoric paintings, where a human 40,000 years away from us was outlining these forms, leaving marks of his/her way to perceive the reality. Those caves exhibit the contours of the subject in a cultural and linguistic domain that is unimaginable for us. Seeing it, how do we grasp the lines on these walls with our contemporary mentality? Kikuchi takes the “division-shapes” in cave paintings and through a self-referential process, multiplies them, overlapping one on top of another, bringing attention to the metaphysical contours that structure physical reality for us.
Idea #5(Chauvet), acrylic on panel, 89×89×3cm 2017
Idea #4(Chauvet), acrylic on panel, 180×430×3.5cm, 2017
Frantic Gallery
Ikejiri Institute of Design 309C,
2-4-5 Ikejiri, Setagaya,
Tokyo, Japan 154-0001

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