Nobuhiro Ishihara "deer man"

Nobuhiro Ishihara "deer man"

2009 11.20 - 12.12

Nobuhiro Ishihara "deer man", 2009 - installation view at nca
Press Release

Nobuhiro Ishihara “deer man”

Place:nca | nichido contemporary art
Date:20th November – 12th December 2009
Opening hours:Tue – Sat 11:00 - 19:00 / Closed on Sun, Mon and National Holidays
Reception:Friday 20th November 18:00 – 20:00

nca | nichido contemporary art is delighted to announce Nobuhiro Ishihara’s “deer man” exhibition.

Ishihara's abstract paintings have been based on impressions that surge up from some unconscious realm, as well as the assumption that his own existence emerges from a multi-layered world. Inspired by the image of the Hirasaka slope that leads to the underworld, as described in the Yomi no Kuni section of the Kojiki (“The Records of Ancient Matters” – the oldest surviving book in Japan), Ishihara began making work depicting the boundaries that loosely bind this stratified world together. In the past few years, the figure of the “deer man” has also started to appear in his paintings – a pilot who manages to reach the lower depths of our contemporary cities, where countless overlapping layers of past memories become eroded and sealed off with the passing of time. The deer is a symbolic figure in many cultures: a messenger who straddles the boundary between the human and the divine (nature), life and death. Ishihara’s “deer man” serves as our envoy, burrowing deep into the crevices of our cities and showing us the world that lies hidden beneath.

Into the forest of myth
When did painting become an intellectual commodity? You enter the exhibition venue to look at an artwork: the act of confirming one’s impressions with the explanatory panel and caption next to it proves that the appreciation of art is a matter of proper cultivation and refinement. The fundamental principle underlying Modernist art, however, was its staunch insistence on the autonomy of the artwork. Works that were unable to stand on their own without the aid of a caption or explanatory text, in particular, were condemned to be cast aside. Despite being wrapped up in this mutual contradiction, Modernist art is already well into its hundredth year.
The imaginary “deer man” creature in Nobuhiro Ishihara’s work feels compelled to escape a devotion to its own mythology – to disown a certain brand of intellectual behavior in order to roam the vast reaches of this world instead. The reality of modern society is highly unpredictable. It almost seems as if people have been implanted with a code that forbids any second guessing about the future. While this code has ensured systematized order in our society, our distaste for this order means that it has become a compulsive source of stress. Nature, on the other hand, represents another unpredictable world that is completely free of such stress. Instead, here is a place where the instinct to assimilate into nature wells up from inside you, where even fatigue gives you a sense of comfort.
Myths, first and foremost, are artificial constructions. They are nothing more than metaphors for a natural condition of chaos. Naturally, the state of nature on which these myths are predicated is also strictly codified. In the context of this grand tautological scheme, however, these seemingly half-baked metaphors are endowed with a reality more intense and fertile than any narrative tale. Whatever the case, even if the scenes in these paintings amount to nothing more than an endless repetition of death and rebirth, the deer man and his forays into uncharted territory promise us an experience that cannot be converted into mere words and text.
Taro Amano (Chief curator, Yokohama Museum of Art)

Nobuhiro Ishihara;
Born in Zushi, Kanagawa, Ishihara obtained his BS degree from Keio University, Tokyo and BFA degree from the School of Visual Arts, New York, NY.
Solo Exhibitions: “Nobuhiro Ishihara” (2008, I-20 Gallery, New York), “Hirasaka” (2002, Nagamine Projects, Tokyo), “Keep Moving” (2001, Iwaki City Art Museum, Fukushima), “Nobuhiro Ishihara” (1999, Mori Museum, Fukushima)
Group Exhibitions: “Places” (2007, Luxe Gallery, New York), “Dark Matter” (2007, Okay Mountain, Austin, US), “Encounter and Dialogue” (2003, Gallery, The Miyagi Museum of Art, Miyagi), “Frere New York Independent Art Fair” (2000, Chelsea Inn Hotel, New York)

Taro Amano;
Chief curator of the Yokohama Museum of Art. After working for the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art from 1982 to 1987, Amano has curated numerous exhibitions both internationally and domestically at the Yokohama Museum of Art since 1987. He is a member of the International Association of Art Critics. Among major exhibitions curated by Amano are “Yasumasa Morimura, Sickness unto Beauty- Self-Portrait as Actress”(1996), “Yoshitomo Nara”(2001), and “Contemporary Photography III Non-Sect Radical”(2004). He was also a co-curator of the 2nd Triennial of Yokohama in 2005.

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