Roppongi | Projects
Naomi Okubo "From Here to Somewhere, From Somewhere to Here"
September 25 (Sat), - October 23 (Sat), 2021
GALLERY MoMo Projects is pleased to present a solo exhibition of Naomi Okubo entitled “From Here to Somewhere, From Somewhere to Here” from Saturday, September 25 through Saturday, October 23rd.
From the beginning, Okubo has created works on the theme of delicate relationships with others and has depicted the inside of a sensitive girl. By hiding the facial expressions of girls that Okubo describes several self-portraits in a painting, the viewers superimpose themselves or close women on the girls, and have sympathy to her paintings regardless of nationalities. Through her personal experiences of getting connections with others by changing the guise, Okubo has attempted to express the cross-section of modern society by considering the meaning and function of decorations, and the relevance to the society under the invisible social pressures like how we should behave and how we should dress up.
While gaining the various experiences and changes in the relationship with others, she deeps her interests in themes that have sociality strongly. Keeping the delicate and vivid depictions, Okubo does not state a strong message directly in the paintings like various problems in the society were buried. However, the works that show beautiful decorations and multiple portraits like a pattern provoke mysterious feelings and some anxiety in the viewers. It gives the works two sides.
According to Okubo, she would like to create an exhibition where the viewers can feel the clues to move forward while struggling with changes in value, in this exhibition, she will set up the theme of the issues that she realized various contradictions during her stay at NY. We will show her new works and installation that give a glimpse of the current feeling of blockage and contradiction. It is like we are in a beautiful greenhouse and surrounded by foliage plants, but it’s artificial beauty and escape from the real world.
Naomi Okubo was born in 1985 in Tokyo and received MA from Musashino Art University in 2011. She previously exhibited at Asian Student and Young Artists Art Festival in Korea, A.STYLE gallery in Hong Kong, Hamnmagasinet in Sweden, Gallerie Christoffer Egelund in Demark, and ELASA GALLERY in Taiwan. Okubo had participated in a residence program in Sweden and her works are a collection of Hallamds Konstmuseum in Sweden. She had lived and worked in NY from 2017 to 2020, and now lives and works in Tokyo. Okubo received the grants from Japanese Government Overseas Study Program for Artist (2017-2019 in NY) and Yoshino Gypsum Co., Ltd. Overseas Research Program for Artist.
In March 2020, NY was in the middle of lockdown. I could not even go to the studio and I was frightened by the sound of ambulances that did not stop ringing all the time in my apartment. On the other hand, I was grateful that I could spend my daily life slowly and have enough time, suddenly came down to me, to do nothing. It seemed that it was reversed what I believed ideal and what I longed for, and the important things I missed in the busy days.
I decided to return to Japan in September 2020.
The pandemic by COVID-19 has exposed the inherent contradictions of its societies in various countries.
I was thinking about freedom in a country of freedom. Even if you say freedom in one word, the freedom that someone thinks can hinder the freedom of others, and it is different from your own freedom.
I had considered what an ideal is in an ideal country.
Every country has some kind of ideal.
But that idea maybe someone’s ideal, not me or someone else’s.
From my experience of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and the nuclear accident, I realized that the important thing and the inconvenient truth the government doesn't want us to know was always hidden in beautiful images and words.
Can we go out of the given utopia into the wilderness and live freely by having each important belief and holding hands with each other.
Naomi Okubo, 2021