Arisa Kumagai, You or I, 2022, oil on panel / letterpress printing on paper, framed, 195 x 97 cm / 15.3 x 21.4 cm

Arisa Kumagai|My yearning to be You


Saturday, April 16 – Saturday, June 25, 2022


Closed on Sundays, Mondays, and National Holidays


Gallery Koyanagi is pleased to present a solo show by Arisa KUMAGAI titled “My yearning to be You” from Saturday, April 16th to Saturday, June 25th.

In the exhibition “Shell Art Prize – Artist Selection 2020” held at The National Art Center, Tokyo in 2020, Kumagai presented a series of work depicting a ceramic leopard symbolizing one’s potential of becoming an assaulter. Deciding to move forward, the artist herself terminated the perfection of that leopard, and portrayed its remnant. After 3 years since the last solo show, we will be showing all new works including that leopard.


A craving to cause pain to someone, exists.

So does an urge to want to think, that the other is a part of oneself.

A hazy vengeance, is there.

And that seemed to have been in me too, innately.

Discovery brought despair, along with a cleared feeling coming out of a fog.

I can only live by continuing to ruin myself.

If I couldn’t evade my own compulsion, to keep on destroying myself and making an advancement, was one of the answers.

That, could possibly be the ethic and moral of myself in entirety.


Kumagai's works always reflect her own background as a starting point, focusing on the irrational and contradictory nature of human existence and its inextricable emotions and forms, such as wealth and poverty, life and death, love and hatred.


What Kumagai depicts is the thorn that appears when the resolution of the superficial “beauty” is raised acutely; or the domain of inauspiciousness. It implies that the positive world in which we live, such as beauty, love and happiness, stands on an uncertain ground, transient and brittle, such as restless consumerism and power imbalance due to gender.

-Tomoko Yabumae, the jury member of Shell Art Prize


The works, with their unsettling presence depicted with outstanding realism, born from Kumagai's confrontation with her personal feelings and experiences, her own past and present, penetrate the viewer with a strong energy, transcending one’s personal background. In this exhibition, texts that evoke a rich imagination in the viewer are juxtaposed, foreshadowing new developments in Kumagai's creative process.


The artist will be present on Saturday, April 16th, the first day of the exhibition. We will be honored if you could find the time to drop by.

Arisa Kumagai, You or I, 2022, oil on panel / letterpress printing on paper, framed, 195 x 97 cm / 15.3 x 21.4 cm

press release
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Photo by Keizo Kioku