Circles drawn complete, returning to their starting point, curves end their progression. Birds bathed in the sunset fold their wings, and humans lose their words. The sun, having lit the earth, disappears, yet the sun itself remains unchanged in place.

Kenjiro Okazaki

Form at Now and Later 形而の而今而後

On View
Jun 28 – Aug 17, 2024
Seoul
 
EXHIBITION DETAILS

Kenjiro Okazaki
Jun 28 – Aug 17, 2024

GALLERY

267 Itaewon-ro
Yongsan-gu
Seoul

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Above: Kenjiro Okazaki, Circles drawn complete, returning to their starting point, curves end their progression. Birds bathed in the sunset fold their wings, and humans lose their words. The sun, having lit the earth, disappears, yet the sun itself remains unchanged in place. One plate shows cherries, another figs, and yet another grapes. When light strikes the fig plate, something twinkles like stars. The world must exist! The trees whisper in a language all understand. Nights spent plagued by doubt. Mornings where questions are answered. Even with his senses lost, the world exists around him: the vase, the red glass water pitcher (the morning light reflecting in smooth curves on the white window frame), and the world that lies beyond them., 2023 © Kenjiro Okazaki
Pace is pleased to present Form at Now and Later 形而の而今而後, an exhibition of work by Kenjiro Okazaki at its Seoul gallery.

On view from June 28 to August 17, this presentation will bring together new and recent paintings and sculptures by the Japanese artist. This exhibition, which marks Okazaki’s first solo show in Korea, will focus on his investigations into time, space, and perception through a language of abstraction.

A celebrated artist and critic, Okazaki’s work spans painting, sculpture, performance, architecture, landscape design, robotics, and other media. He uses these seemingly disparate modes of making collectively to explore the ways that time and space can be reshaped and reconstructed through our unique cognitive experiences of the world around us. Often imbued with art historical and philosophical references, his work examines the collapse of history, memory, and form in the present moment. Through his art, and particularly in his paintings, Okazaki recreates the vast, echoing continuum of time, space, and existence, uncovering connections and mysteries from deep within our universe that inflect the current moment.

The works included in Form at Now and Later 形而の而今而後 at Pace in Seoul underscore the artist’s increasingly philosophical approach to form and abstraction. In a selection of small-scale paintings from his series Zero Thumbnails— which stem from his experiments with diptych compositions in the 1990s—abstractions seem to extend beyond compact picture plane, with color and form becoming autonomous entities in the exhibition space.

The show will also feature 16 large-scale paintings created by Okazaki in 2023 and 2024. Linking brushstrokes across multiple panels and through mirror-image relationships, these acrylic compositions invite a continually shifting visual experience that eschews any single overall impression or reading. The elaborate titles of these paintings are works of art inand of themselves, offering poetic entry points into each canvas.

Other highlights in the exhibition include the artist’s mixed media wall relief 3:15 (1983–93), the most historic work in the show, and a selection of his new synthetic marble sculptures of distorted, overlapping forms. Okazaki’s process for making these undulating sculptures—which involves mixing soil with various other materials—is in some ways akin to the formation of the Earth through collisions and accumulations. As with his work across other mediums, his new sculptures examine, question, and challenge the limits of human perception.

 

Featured Works

Kenjiro Okazaki, When the sun sets, the meat turns to stone. The fossilized bones of Megatherium are still found here and there, I hear. In the days when breakfast was Megatherium, what was the world like? It's hard to break habits. Where we lived, coal grew on trees. Don't worry, only you will turn to stone. Cherish your statue. When the sun dries my pitiful beard, I flee into the depths of the beach and dig a home in the warm, dried sand. I will stay there forever. I have no intention of speaking again. / 日没になると、お肉は石になるのよ。メガテリウムの石でできた骨とかが今でもそこらにあるそうですよ。朝食がメガテリウムだったころの話、世界はこんなでした? 習慣を断ち切るのは難しいもの。.私たちが住んでいた処は、木に石炭が生えていました、大丈夫、気にしないで、石になるのはあなただけよ。あなたの像を大切にしてね。 太陽が私の哀れなひげを乾かすと、私は浜辺の奥に逃げ込み、暖かく乾いた砂の奥深くに家を掘りました。私はずっとそこにいます。もう何も話すつもりはありません。, 2024, acrylic on canvas, 182 cm × 216.1 cm × 6.5 cm (71-5/8" × 85-1/16" × 2-9/16")
Kenjiro Okazaki, The unequal distribution of land and water is evident at first glance. Though it may appear that this distribution is dominated by blind chance, a closer look reveals that an orderly rationale underlies the existing relationship between the solid and fluid surfaces of the Earth. Waves flew in all directions as the whale churned through the water, its course marked by a rod-wide trail of white foam left by the thrashing of its tail against the surface. It passed beneath our ship once more before heading downwind and out of sight. Around 8am, before the wind direction had changed, I noticed water was quickly flooding into the boat at an alarming rate. Within minutes, the water level rose rapidly and the boat was no longer safe. The ship seemed to sail through milk, due to the immense number of tiny white creatures on the surface, concealing the water's hue. The Red Sea's distinctive red color, from which the name comes, results from a microscopic alga floating. The allure of that red color conceals the exuberant life activity. / 陸と海が不均等に分布していることは一見して明らかです。この分布は偶然に支配されているように見えるかもしれませんが、よりよく観察すると、地球の固体表面と流体表面の間に存在する関係の基盤に整合的な秩序があることが洞察できます。 波が四方八方から飛び、クジラが向かう方向は、尾が水面を激しく打ってできた幅1竿ほどの白い泡の道に示されています。彼は再び船の下を通り、風下に去りました。 風向きが変化していない朝8時頃、ボートに水がすごい勢いで浸水してくるのに気づきました。数分のうちにみるみる水量は増え、もはやボートは安全ではありません。 船はミルクの中を航行しているようだった。水面を泳ぐ無数の小さな白い動物が水の色合いに混じって起こす現象である。紅海とよばれる海の独特な色は、海面に浮かぶ微細な藻類の存在による。美しい赤い色の印象はその驚異的な繁殖力をも隠す。, 2024, acrylic on canvas, 224 cm × 363.5 cm × 7 cm (88-3/16" × 11' 11-1/8" × 2-3/4")
Kenjiro Okazaki, Circles drawn complete, returning to their starting point, curves end their progression. Birds bathed in the sunset fold their wings, and humans lose their words. The sun, having lit the earth, disappears, yet the sun itself remains unchanged in place. One plate shows cherries, another figs, and yet another grapes. When light strikes the fig plate, something twinkles like stars. The world must exist! The trees whisper in a language all understand. Nights spent plagued by doubt. Mornings where questions are answered. Even with his senses lost, the world exists around him: the vase, the red glass water pitcher (the morning light reflecting in smooth curves on the white window frame), and the world that lies beyond them. / 円を描き終え始点に戻れば曲線はそれ以上進まない、夕日を浴び鳥は翼を畳み人は言葉を失う。大地を照らした太陽が姿を消しても太陽の変わらずに在る。 ある皿には桜桃、別のには無花果、また別の皿に葡萄が描かれている。無花果の皿に光が当たると、何かが星のようにきらめいた。  世界は存在しなければならないのだ!木々はだれにでもわかる言葉でささやく。猜疑に悩まされて過ごす夜。問いが解かれる朝。   五感が失われても彼のまわりの花瓶、赤いガラスの水差(朝の光に白い窓枠が、なめらかな曲線をなして映っている)、その延長上に配列された世界が存在する。, 2023, acrylic on canvas, 182 cm × 261 cm × 6.5 cm (71-5/8" × 8' 6-3/4" × 2-9/16")
 

Installation Views

 
Kenjiro Okazaki_Official Portrait_

About the Artist

Kenjiro Okazaki (b. 1955, Tokyo) is an acclaimed artist, architect, and theorist with a multifarious practice that spans painting, sculpture, robotics, costume and set design, and architecture. With a unifying emphasis on form, Okazaki explores themes related to time, space, and the human experience through a postmodernist lens.

In the vein of artists such as Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Paul Klee, Tomoyoshi Murayama, Filippo Brunelleschi, and John Cage, Okazaki’s work is rooted in an investigation of the perception and reconstruction of time. In addition to his artistic practice, he is a critic renowned for his efforts in redefining abstraction. Okazaki has authored and co-authored several books, including Renaissance: Condition of Experience (Bunshun Gakugei Library, 2015), and Abstract Art as Impact: The Concrete Genealogy of Abstract Art (Akishobo, 2018), and perhaps most well-known, Abstract Art as Impact: Analysis of Modern Art (Aki Shobō, 2018), for which he was awarded the Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts in 2019. Over the course of his four-decade career, his richly varied oeuvre has cemented the artist as an important voice in the cultural landscape of Japan and beyond.