MASANORI TOMITA

quiz
December 17, 2016 - January 29, 2017
Opening reception: Saturday, December 17, 6-8 pm
Winter holidays: 12/26 - 1/10

MASANORI TOMITA

MASANORI TOMITA quiz 2014, oil on canvas, 72.7 x 60.6 cm

KAYOKOYUKI is pleased to announce the solo exhibition with Masanori Tomita. He was born in 1989 in Kumamoto, Japan.Recently, Tomita presented his work in "quiz" at KAYOKOYUKI, Tokyo, 2016, ”Inner Flash" at Space Wunderkammer, Tokyo, 2014, "SLASH/ sqare” at gallery 5, Tokyo, 2014, ”Masanori Tomita / Koji Nakazono” at TURNER GALLERY, Tokyo, 2012, "Mutodu" at TURNER GALLERY, Tokyo, 2012. Lives and works in Chiba.

Masanori Tomita has consistently worked on oil on canvas paintings that are simultaneously abstract and figurative. Concrete images such as human silhouettes or hands gradually emerge from the accumulated layers of oil paint, which make his painting surface appear at first glance as totally abstract. Tomita’s practice, according to the artist, is an attempt to extract certain elements from events and phenomena actually taking place within his sight as well as non-imaginary, actual landscapes and sceneries, and transform them into a form of painting. One of the characteristics of his paintings is their color; a harmony of inharmonic tones, so to speak, made of accumulated layers of paint, constitutes each of his works, allowing them to form a view of a world that is the counterpart of our ordinary, everyday world. In this respect, his paintings resemble the various constellational patterns behind the night sky formed by imagined lines drawn between stars, as well as the tradition of Chinese landscape paintings which represent the sublime through highly formalized sceneries that never exist in reality.

The title of this exhibition, quiz, is also that of one of the pieces on view. For the artist, the significance of this title lies in the silhouettes of the four letters in the word “quiz,” rather than what it means as a word. Quite interestingly, though, this happens to be reminiscent of one of the theories for the etymology of “quiz,” which claims that it was invented by someone who had made a bet that a nonsense word could be made known overnight. If that was the case, originally, the word “quiz” does not have any meaning. Tomita states that the act of naming a piece of his painting when it is finished is that of “giving a name to a name.” For him, naming something that is evidently present in its own right means giving a certain code to an already self-contained existence to invent a new value, an act that is “deeply sinful and enjoyable.”

Confronting Tomita’s paintings, we are overwhelmed by the material presence of the overlaid layers of his oil paint. However, in contrast to this bold materiality, images emerging from behind the surface seem so ephemeral and ghostly that we illusively feel as if they would transform into something different at any moment. This effect stems from the artist’s enduring endeavor to capture in his paintings a sense of being midway, similar to the state of being “about to stand up or fall down,” or “en route to somewhere.” Therefore, his paintings allow the viewer to get a glimpse of the other side of the other side of reality, or in other words, another reality that is here, yet lying in a dimension different from our everyday reality.

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