Oscar Oiwa:  Let’s go on a life trip!  Exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo

Oscar Oiwa: Let’s go on a life trip! Exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo


The exhibit “MOT Collection: Journals” will be on view from July 17 to October 17, including large drawings and silk screen by Oscar Oiwa. As entitled, this group show is a kind of anthology composed of pieces created in the daily lives under corona pandemic as well as with the background of Olympic games. Among others, the special exhibit of Oscar reflects the “life trip” of the artist, as he admits, who observes and represents the characteristic of different scenery of respective societies. We introduce the main images as follows.

Zeus, God of Olympia landing at Tokyo

Zeus, the god of Olympia, 2019, marker pen and charcoal on paper, 3x6.7m each piece.png
“Zeus, God of Olympia” 2019 marker pen and charcoal on paper, h300 x w670cm (3 pieces in total) ©OSCAR OIWA

This series was first exhibited in the Japan Cultural Institute in Paris in fall 2020 (“Transphere” #6 Curator: Aomi Okabe). Memories of the cities in Rio, Tokyo and Paris are collaged, to generate the face image of Zeus, God of Ancient Olympia when installed vertically. The artist finds the similar diligence in athlete and himself targeting the goals as below.

I have never had the ambition of becoming an Olympic champion, but just like these atheletes, I strive every day to surpass myself in my work. This parallel has inspired me to create a new series that merges this daily struggle with my travelling life. Three Olympic cities to which I am personally linked – Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Paris – are at the heart of these paintings, in which I have hidden some of my memories.
(fromThe Japan Foundation “Contemporary Artist Exhibition Report Transphere 2016-2020”, 2021, p.222)

Zeus, the god of Olympia, 2019_Rio.jpg

“Quarantine Series” all the silk screen works revealed

In 2020, corona pandemic began to spread throughout the world including New York where Oscar lives and works. Main spots such as Times Square become vacant with no people or the artist himself is confined within his apartment, unable to commute his atelier in the suburb. Nevertheless, Oscar tried what he could do in this inconvenience using large digital tablet to produce “Quarantine Drawing Series”. This series was printed in Japan and was exhibited in Art Front Gallery.

This print series is now on view at MOT for the first time. Please enjoy the imaginary trip by the artist from Shanghai, Osaka, Japan at the period of before-war, and New York, to find the details of daily life, which might have been overlooked in the world without pandemic.

quarantine17 A Sick Country.jpg
“A Sick Country” 2020, 56.5 x 76.5cm, silk screen on BFK rive paper
This piece was conceived more than one year ago, when the vaccine was not realized at all. The imagination of the artist has become true.

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“Kitchen of the Future” 2020, 56.5 x 76.5cm, silk screen on BFK rive paper
This image was based on Oscar’s own kitchen, to generate the future concept with animals.

In addition to these pieces exhibited in the museum, Art Front Gallery can also offer the painting for the “Quarantine Series”, oil on canvas, created in the same period. When the city of NY was locked down, the shops were equipped with veneer wood to prevent from looting. The painting are themselves outcome of the registration of this specific time while they are proof of artist’s keeping on creating on the basis of his own memory.

Store front at New York with veneer board, (©OSCAR OIWA, from video clip)

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《shop (market)》2020 oil on canvas, veneer 58 x 76cm

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《shop (China town)》2020 oil on canvas, veneer, 50 x 61cm

■MOT Collection: Journals
Special exhibit: Mark Manders, Storage and Display
Sat. 17 Jul - Sun. 17 Oct, 2021
at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

On the first floor, under the title, “Journals,” artworks created daily against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and disastrous events that have transformed our lives, the Olympics held upon a global scale, and the ordinary day-to-day, are presented in the form of an anthology comprising a wide variety of artists. Highlights of the exhibition include Chim↑Pom’s May, 2020, Tokyo, as well as new print works “Quarantine Series” and Zeus: the God of Olympia by Oscar OIWA (all on special exhibit). Such are featured on this occasion along with a selection of around 70 works by artists such as NINAGAWA Mika, TAKEUCHI Kota, MIYAKE Saori, and KAWARA On, all serving to illuminate the society and daily life in which we live.

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