Take the Helm of Yourself!

Shoko Fujimori

January 16 (Sat) - February 13 (Sat), 2021​

In the spring of 2020, we were forced to refrain from going out due to a pandemic that we never experienced before. I had to look back on the way of communication. 
When I consider what I want to paint now, I reached the result of the fundamental motives for producing paintings naturally, such as living with people and wanting to leave them on the canvas and convey them to someone.
At the same time, I recalled my first visit to the Louvre Museum at the age of 17. It was the gift trip from my father who thought that it should be better to appreciate masterpieces early if I wanted to be a painter in the future. The large-scale painting, The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault, gave me a shock and particularly left impressive on my memory.
When I took the catalog I bought in the Louvre Museum and turned the pages, I found the nostalgic masterpieces pictures with paint stains and dog-ears I made when I was in high school. I remembered that I put the opened catalog at the feet of the easel for reference in my production. I believe that the origin of my aspiration for a painter was here. I felt that I received a great deal of power from myself of the past.  
I think I could not create the painting, Take the Helm of Yourself!, inspired by The Raft of the Medusa if I did not experience the spring of 2020.
The small half-sunken boat that keeps sailing through a sea of uncertainties. People who have a big flag, sing at full power with hope, help their friends, and never give up until the end.
The characters in my paintings are anyone in this world. 
Sometimes we have fun to play with people who spend time together in society such as family, lovers, friends, and colleagues, and sometimes bargain with them by reading their thoughts each other. I think that the danger, urgency, and such unbalanced status of minds that are never constant are all healthy humanity. 

2021 Shoko Fujimori




162.0 x 130.3 cm
Iteration Diligent Labor Car|2021 Acrylic gouache on canvas

I remember “Le Radeau de la Méduse” and “La Liberté guidant le people” that I appreciated at the Louvre Museum at the age of 17. The impressive description of crisis situations on the paintings stirred up my anxiety.  
In the spring of 2020 when I asked myself what I want to create, I recalled these two paintings. A person who tries to help loved one on a boat that is about to run ashore. A person who sings songs with the guitar as hard as he can until the moment the boat sinks. A person who keeps raising a big flag even in the crisis. We are not sure the future. Even if we face anxiety like a slowly sinking boat, I hope we could hold hands with each other and link happiness as much as possible to the future.




72.7 x 60.6 cm
Edge of Sleep Station|2018 Acrylic gouache on canvas






13.0 x 21.0 x 31.0 cm
Commuter Aggression|2021 Mixed media

I got the inspiration for this painting from The Card Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds by Georges de Latour and Fortune Teller by Hans Holbein.
Behind playing the Jenga game, another game has started. The woman on the right smiles vaguely and tries to steal her ring secretly while pretending to take the hand of the woman next to her warmly. Perhaps, the woman on left is aware of it so she is not looking at Jenga. Like replicating the unstable balanced Jenga that is going to break, it is a tense situation where they read the facial expression of each other. Which one will lose the balance first in the end…




72.7 x 91.0 cm
Smoking Area in the Secluded Town|2020 Acrylic gouache on canvas

I started to create this painting with my thought that I wanted to depict the best smile. 
Every person has anxiety and a negative side on the back of their facial expression. It is impossible to live by eliminating all the negative sides. However, I believe that we could live happily in any era if we could share the warmth that we get by relating with others regardless of race, age, or gender even though we keep the negative side inside of our hidden part.
The reason why I purposely depicted the neon-colored blood vessel with transparent is that I want to show the uncomfortable and the freshness that the inside of the skin contains. The skins and the blood vessels represent the negative reality we have and the anxiety that is like the blood spill out when I cut the skin with a knife. I tried to make it pop with neon colors because it will be too grotesquery with real expression. They are the symbol of an image for anxiety or negatives feelings. 




89.4 x 145.5 cm
Illusion Floating Center|2020 Acrylic gouache on canvas







53.0 x 72.7 cm
Borrowed Scenery Car of Phantom Dream|2020 Acrylic gouache on canvas







14.5 x 15.6 x 3.0 cm
Iron Impulse|2020 Mixed media







33.3 x 24.2cm
Smoke Light from the Smoking House|2021 Acrylic gouache on paper and wooden panel