Arisa Kumagai, Single bed, 2018, oil on panel, 195 x 97 cm

Arisa Kumagai: Single bed

May 16 – June 22, 2019


“Single bed”


My father died in Kodokushi (lonely death).

He was there all winter.

When found in spring, he was mentioned in local newspaper.

It took 2 more months to verify that it was my father.

He was only a little over 50 then.


There was no funeral.

I was the only one who personally showed up to see his relatives.

My mother offered him a big flower arrangement.

Recent funeral flowers are gorgeous and beautiful, despite its motive.


Since then I have been thinking about those beautiful flowers that my mother has offered.


And how one could love so helplessly, and how one hates, and about loneliness that drives one crazy, and about solitude that’s hard to let go.


They say that sleeping is like a small death.

I sleep, also today, on my own single bed.




Gallery Koyanagi is pleased to present the first solo exhibition by Arisa Kumagai, titled “Single bed.”


Arisa Kumagai was born in 1991 in Osaka. She lives and works in Kyoto. She graduated the Kyoto University of Art and Design (KUAD) in 2013 majoring in painting, and finished the graduate course of Mixed Media Field also at KUAD in 2015. She received many prizes at graduation exhibitions, such as Hiroshi Senju Prize and Excellence Award, and The Shell Art Award by Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. and The Ueno Royal Museum Prize while in school. In 2017, she has participated in a group exhibition titled “Portrait” at Gallery Koyanagi. A somber triptych in oil, depicting her grandfather, was well received by the audience in Japan and abroad. This solo show in 2019 includes a single bed sized oil painting Single bed, a major work she’s created since the group show. There will be 6 more new works in the show.


Her work indeed reflects her personal experiences. However, what she tries to express is the vulnerability and “helplessness” of human being; how irrational and ironic it may seem, it is a universal truth that rich and poor, life and death, love and hate are one and indivisible. Her masterful realism may be a catharsis, giving form to what she had to see.

The works from the series Leisure Class shown at the “Portrait” exhibition visualized the way of thinking, formed in the course of her upbringing. For this exhibition, she paid more attention to the feeling of others around her, to deepen the original concept. The emotional disturbance incurred by death may in some cases be reflected in the form of dedicated flower, or an object of worship. The children’s shoes or a leather jacket with the deceased’s memory could affect the heart of the ones who were left behind. The artwork depicting such relic, observed through an unimpassioned eye, seems to present an aspect of human nature.



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