Koichiro Azuma Solo Exhibition : HANMA
Koichiro Azuma 《HANMA in a City》2023 Hanma(Zelkova,Paulownia), Bicycle, iron h2000x4000x1450mm

  • 東弘一郎 個展「HANMA」

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Koichiro Azuma Solo Exhibition : HANMA

June 9th (Friday) ~ July 16th (Sunday), 2023

We are pleased to announce Koichiro Azuma's First Solo Exhibition at Art Front Gallery.
Last year, Koichiro Azuma, who attracted a lot of attention for his site-specific art and installation art that even children can enjoy using bicycles, such as the Echigo-Tsumari Art Festival, Ginza Six, and Roppongi Art Night, will present his first solo show at the gallery space.

Date June 9th (Friday) ~ July 16th (Sunday), 2023
Hours Wed. - Fri. 12:00 - 19:00 / Sat. and Sun. 11:00 - 17:00
Closed Monday and Tuesday
Reception June 9th (Friday) 18:00-20:00
artist at the gallery June 9th (Fri.) and 10th (Sat.) all day / June 11 (San.) PM / June 21 / June 24 / June 25 / July 1st PM / July 9th (Sun) / ★July 15th (Sat) /★ July 16th (Sun)

A conversation with wheels

Yumiko Tatematsu (curator, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa)

Koichiro Azuma creates his works based on a dialogue with a certain place. His conversation partner for the new work shown as part of this exhibition at Artfront Gallery were the hanma, the wheels supporting the floats of the Sawara Grand Festival, one of the three big festivals of the Edo period and a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. Through the motif of the hanma (specifically the type made of laminated wood that’s popular in Sawara’s Funado district), Azuma engages local customs, thoughts and feelings of the participants, and other things that escape our full grasp. Born from Azuma’s deep contemplation, his artworks investigate ongoing issues that sit in between the past and the future.
Artworks possess the ability to express social issues, cultural backgrounds, worldviews, personal experiences and feelings. Azuma’s creations are like devices that evoke feelings and thoughts in the audience to facilitate empathy and sympathy.
When Azuma lived in the city of Toride, he collected dozens upon dozens of old bicycle and used them to create sculptural artworks with movable wheels. Installed in the urban space of the city, the audience is able to freely set the wheels in motion using the power of their muscles. These works form a symbolic visualization of the way things, though stopped at some point in the past, can begin to move again. Their moving wheels possess an ability to bring to mind a number of feelings and thoughts – from Toride’s history as the “city of bicycles” to more personal memories of abandoned ideas, things that one couldn’t finish or had simply given up on, or thoughts that weren’t followed to the end – and give them new momentum. Through his art, Azuma not only raises awareness of various social issues, he also reminds us that communication requires empathy and understanding.
The system of industrialization-driven global capitalism has started showing us its weaknesses. The Sawara region itself is faced with severe depopulation due to declining birthrates and its aging population. Wheels allowed us to move goods from one place to another; they played a vital role for humanity’s progress and the development of society. Likewise, the continued smooth communication of ideas and thoughts from one person to the next will have a significant impact on the further development of our society.
We hope that Azuma’s new works, in which he devoted himself to the simple concept of the wheel, will challenge methods and mannerisms born from the collective experiences of generations from a contemporary point of view.

Koichiro Azuma "Iron HANMA (Bicycle)" 2023 iron, bicycle