With BORN IN THE FLUFFY JOURNEY, KÖNIG GALERIE presents the first solo exhibition of Ayako Rokkaku in the CHAPEL of St. Agnes. Born in Japan in 1982, the artist now describes herself as a global citizen and lives in Berlin, Porto and Amsterdam.
Rokkaku’s works defy traditional categories of classification; she does not allow herself to be confined by the rules of conventional art production. Rokkaku is self-taught and thus independently developed a distinctive technique and visual language. The artist uses a wide variety of media—discarded cardboard and wooden material, as well as Louis Vuitton suitcases—which she makes the basis of her works. Painting is a physical act for Rokkaku. Although the artist herself is only 1.56 m tall, she prefers large-format canvases on which she can exploit the full potential of her movements. She applies acrylic paint with her hands directly onto the canvas and immerses herself in her dreamlike sceneries. For Rokkaku, the motifs develop in the process, without an underlying plan. In this way, painting becomes a performative process for her, in which she lets her hands wander over the canvas, fully surrendering to their movements. This is how Rokkaku creates dense cloud formations that, as if drifting in the sky, continually assume new shapes. Shifting between abstraction and figuration, a fantastic landscape gradually emerges, inhabited by animals, plants, or figures that sometimes float freely through space, sometimes seem rooted in an undefined space, or simply remain in an 'in-between' state.
Recurring elements in her work are the depictions of manga-style young girls with big eyes and long limbs, for Rokkaku an expression of her own personality. The artist is fascinated by the boundlessness of a child’s imagination, to which the young girls and vividly colourful backgrounds attest. The figures move freely through Rokkaku’s otherworldly landscapes, the outlines of the clouds forming their dresses or a bushy mop of hair. At the same time, the girls are a reference to Rokkaku’s native Japan, where manga culture is rooted.
Ever since winning the Scout Prize at the Geisai Fair #4 initiated by Takashi Murakami in 2006, the artist has established herself as one of the most exciting contemporary Japanese positions. The new works on view at KÖNIG GALERIE take the viewer on a journey into Rokkaku’s artistic cosmos.
Ayako Rokkaku (b. 1982 in Chiba, Japan) has had solo exhibitions at international institutions including Chiba Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan (2020); Museum Jan van der Togt, Amstelveen, The Netherlands (2019); Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Bratislava, Slovakia (2012); and Kunsthal, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2011). In 2015, she showed her work at the Swatch Art Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale. Works by the artist are part of the collections of Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Voorlinden Museum, Gunma Museum of Art, Sehwa Museum of Art/Sehwa Art and Culture Foundation and Museum of Contemporary Art, Karuiuzawa.
Press release courtesy KÖNIG GALERIE.