Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix is pleased to present the first showing of works of Ryohei Kan in the UK. Works of video, mixed media installation, photography and other graphic works portray various facets of empty space, or more specifically, empty gallery space, which quietly but steadily questions architecture, reality and conceived reality. The video and the installation, central to the exhibition are designed to be in tune with the structural elements of the gallery, thus providing the best vintage point when viewing in the gallery space.

About the exhibition


The video 'Endless Gallery', projected life-size at the gallery's basement main room, invites the audience into the screen to explore the imaginary space from room to room, along with another person, invisible but sensed by the sound of accompanying footsteps. Both visual and acoustic elements of the piece were created exclusively by digital means, from the stains of the floor to the holes on a wall left from hanging previous works and the almost inaudible sound of failing/ flickering florescent lights.


The air of nonchalant creation in the photographic works is no less deceiving. These uneventful snapshots, portraying architectural elements’ play with light and shadow are the result of the painstaking composition, staged mostly physically with the models Kan scrupulously produced, while some are digitally created.


The emerging artist has constantly produced works which explore the boundary between physical reality and created reality, a reality formulated according to human concepts or ideals. Kan’s work plays with this boundary, and by his meticulous contrivances his works often result in a blurring of what we see, and what we think we see. The artist nonetheless claims that he is only presenting what you see, and there is nothing more to be explored or examined, hence the enigmatic title for the show, 'As you see it'. Such assertion may seem contradictory, but it reflects his belief that his work is independent of the viewers' perception of it. They seek to liberate the viewer and enable them to experience whatever it is they experience, whether it be actual or imaginary.


Kan's works possess a striking visual poetry, comparable to multi-sensorial haikus, a form of literature initiated in the land of his compatriots. His photographic works crystallise the static beauty portraying sections of life, sections of thoughts, or sections of daydreams. The video possesses almost hypnotic quality with its tireless, repetitive nature leading to the promise of eternity, comparable to the effect one receives when listening to a Bach fugue. Immaculate aesthetics reminiscent of the minimalism of 70's with streamlined visuals of restrained monochromatic palette, from black through almost infinite shades of grey to white, contributes to the meditative property of the work.


We will organise a talk event with the artist toward the end of the exhibition period. Detail to be announced at a later date.



Artist statement


The shop seemed to be full of all manner of curious things - but the oddest part of it all was that, whenever she looked hard at any shelf, to make out exactly what it had on it, that particular shelf was always quite empty, though the others round it were crowded as full as they could hold.


Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass


As you see, in my work expands empty museum or gallery space without any art works exhibited inside. In normal circumstances it is only during the short period of time, after the exhibitions are dismantled and removed, when we can observe such sight. Visitors to art museums or galleries may take it for granted that these spaces are always adorned with works of art and they stay as such for good. As everything comes to an end one day, in reality, and every exhibition will finish at one point without any exception. Importantly, the time after the end of one exhibition, is the time before the beginning of another. In between the exhibitions in the art museums or galleries where innumerable shows take place, one feels the air, mixture of remaining ambiance of the works previously exhibited, and that of the works to be brought in in coming days, mingled in the empty space, or the void. The void eloquently speaks of the loss and absence precisely because of its nature of silent space devoid of objects. It stirs the imagination for the unknown, and is filled with the energy presaging what is to come. In the contemporary society brimmed with information and works of art, I propose to explore potentials to establish meaningful relations with the world through dialogue with the void, a symbol of the unknown. This exhibition will too one day come to an end, and the empty gallery rooms will once again appear. As you will see it, it will be the same landscape as the one the audience finds depicted in my very works that would have been exhibited at the exact space.



Ryohei Kan


Born 1983 in Ehime, Japan, in 1983. Will live and work in Tokyo from spring 2019. Diploma Meisterschüler from the Academy of Fine Arts Munich, Germany under Prof. Florian Pumhösl. PhD and MFA, both in oil painting from the Tokyo University of the Arts. Solo exhibitions include 'In the Walls' Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo, 2017, 'Room A.EG_05', Academy of Fine Arts Munich, Munich, 2014, 'White Cube', Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo, Tokyo, 2013, and 'Black Box', Yokoi Fine Art, Tokyo 2010. Selected group exhibitions include 'Shell Artists Slection', National Art Center, Tokyo, 2018, 'The Pandora's Box: Finding the Wondrous in the Geidai Collection, The University Art Museum, The Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo, 2017, 'First Attacks!', Space Wunderkammer, Tokyo, 2014, 'Tokyo Wonder Wall 2012' The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 2012. Selected awards include; runner up, Shiseido Art Egg, 2017, Grand-prix, The 1st Makurazaki International Art Award, 2016, Judge's Award, Shell Art Award 2012, 2012. Public collections include The University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts and Makurazaki Nameikan Cultural Resource Center, Makurazaki, Japan.



The artist and the gallery would like to extend their gratitude for the generous support and assistance of the following institutions, companies and individuals:


Japan Arts Foundation


Nomura Foundation


Shiseido


Color Science Labo (Tokyo)


Shoji Wataru


Shosuke Watanabe



The artist website