YAMAGUCHI Akira Solo Exhibition “Singa-planet”

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The Japan Foundation is pleased to announce the opening of YAMAGUCHI Akira’s exhibition at the Japan Creative Center (JCC) in Singapore in conjunction with the Singapore Biennale 2011. This will commemorate YAMAGUCHI’s first solo exhibition outside of Japan. It is our hope that seeing the group of new works commissioned for this exhibition, the viewer will feel the artist looking at current society and people’s daily lives in multi-ethnic Singapore with his critical, yet warm, eyes.

Photo of artwork titled Department Store: Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi
"Department Store: Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi," 2004

The Japan Foundation will present a solo exhibition by one of Japan's leading contemporary artists, Yamaguchi Akira, at the Japan Creative Center (JCC) in Singapore.
Yamaguchi was born in 1969 in Tokyo. In 1997, a year after graduating with an MFA from the Tokyo University of the Arts, he participated in the "Kotatsu School" exhibition and quickly attracted the attention of the art world. Yamaguchi uses oils, but paints in the style of classical Yamato painting, adopting traditional compositions such as kassenzu battle paintings and rakuchurakugai paintings that depict cities from a bird's-eye view with some building interiors visible. Within these classical compositions, he freely integrates different times and places, often mixing in a single painting things and customs that are old with those that are new, things that are Western with those that are Eastern. The paintings often include scenes of life in contemporary cities, animals and plants and also machines as symbols of modernization. Part of the works' wide appeal lies in the fact that despite being playful and entertaining in their details, they also maintain a cynical, critical standpoint. While Yamaguchi's paintings may at first appear to be exotic or kitsch, the stunning precision of the depictions has won for them high acclaim overseas - acclaim that transcends exoticism.

In recent years, Yamaguchi has been working in a variety of formats in addition to exhibitions, producing public art and also artwork for CD jackets, books and novel serializations in newspapers.

Photo of artwork titled Setting up a Thousand Senju Kannon
"Setting up a Thousand Senju Kannon," 2009

This exhibition will include a new, specially-made installation focusing on the Singaporean people, with their Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnicities and their lifestyles in their city-state. The installation will take full advantage of the unique South East Asian character of the JCC's architecture. Important works from throughout Yamaguchi's career will also be exhibited. Without doubt, the exhibition will capture the attention of the Singaporean people and probably elicit more than a few smiles, too. Coinciding with the 3rd Singapore Biennale, the theme of which is "Open House," the exhibition is also sure to be seen by the many international art specialists who will visit the city at this time.

Dates: March 12- May 6, 2011
Closed on Sunday, Monday, March 22, April 22, & May 3
Admission Free
Venue: Japan Creative Center (JCC)
4 Nassim Road, Singapore 258372
Organized by: Japan Creative Centre The Japan Foundation
Works in the Exhibit: New works (sculpture, video art, paintings) and eight masterworks made in the 2000s
Artist’s messege: Skyscrapers in Singapore stand high in the sky as if there were no such thing as gravity. They throw ordinary people off the ground to the upper floors. People who used to be neighbors on the ground are now divided by the same distance, in mid-air. What kind of a gateway would a carefree tourist’s impolite gaze discover inside the buildings?
In this exhibition I take a close look at high-rise buildings, presenting three types of works: Paintings that seem to be compressing and interchanging people’s lives and history; a beautiful and playful work that creates a lonely atmosphere caused by discontinuity; and a piece of video art that shows an imaginary elevator moving beyond walls. Also on view are previous works. I invite you to feel the distance between the artist and his subject.
I sincerely hope that everyone will enjoy this exhibition.



1969 Born in Tokyo, Japan and grown up in Kiryu City, Gumna
Lives and works in Tokyo, Japan.


  • 1996 Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, MA in Oil Painting
  • 1994 Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, BA in Oil Painting

Selected Solo and Two-Person Exhibitions:

  • 2010 Inochimaru, Mizuma Art Gallery, Tokyo
  • 2008 Now, Oyamazaki..., YAMAGUCHI Akira, Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum, Kyoto (cat.)
  • 2007 This Time, It's Musha-e!, Nerima Art Museum, Tokyo (cat.)
    Art de Sauro: Aida Makoto/ Yamaguchi Akira, The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo (cat.)

Selected Group Exhibitions:

  • 2011 Bye Bye Kitty, Japan Society, New York, U.S.A. (March 18 - June 13)
  • 2010 17th Biennale of Sydney “The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age", Sydney, Australia
  • 2008 neoteny japan - FROM TAKAHASHI COLLECTION, Kirishima Open Air Museum, Kagoshima (cat.), traveled to: Sapporo Artpark, Sapporo, /The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, the Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Akita /Museum of Modern Art, Akita, Yogago City Museum of Art, Tottori/The Museum of Art, Ehime (cat.)
  • 2006 Kimura Naomichi + Art and Play, The Museum of Modern Art Saitama, Saitama (cat.)
  • 2005 Villa YURINSO Special Open : AIDA Makoto / OZAWA Tsuyoshi / YAMAGUCHI Akira, Ohara Museum of Art Yurinso, Okayama (cat.)
    The Elegance of Silence : Contemporary Art from East Asia, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (cat.)
  • 2004 OFFICINA ASIA, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Bologna, Italy (cat.)
    Mediarena : Contemporary Art from Japan, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand (cat.)
    Living Together is Easy, Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito, Ibaraki, travelling to: The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (cat.)
    MOT Annual 2004 : Where do I come from? Where am I going?, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo (cat.)
  • 2001 The 4th Exhibition of the Taro Okamoto Memorial Award for Contemporary Art, Taro Okamoto Museum of Art, Kanagawa

For further inquiries:

Visual Arts Section, Arts and Culture Dept.
The Japan Foundation
4-4-1 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0004
Tel: 03-5669-6062 Fax: 03-5369-6038
Attn: Yasuko Furuichi E-mail


Japan Creative Centre
Tel: (65) 67370434 Fax: (65)67353062

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