For Maiko Haruki's fifth solo exhibition with the gallery, she has chosen to focus on pop culture icons in the form of around ten soft toy characters including Hello Kitty, the emblem of Japanese 'kawaii culture', and American equivalent Mickey Mouse. Haruki has taken studio portraits of these characters in the style of promotional stills of stars of the silver screen in days gone by. The silhouettes on the black and white screen give off a completely different effect to the bright, colorful images that we normally associate with these characters. They seem somehow lonely, isolated, bored even. Right now at this instant, these characters are being reborn as new products with new images and stories, and they continue to be sold and consumed throughout the world. What does their enduring existence tell us? Listen to a different story that comes from the shadows of these major icons of our consumerist society.
Haruki spent time in Paris during lockdown before returning to Japan to take part in two collective exhibitions in early 2021: Aneke Hikman, Kumi Hiroi, Tokuko Ushioda, Mari Katayama, Maiko Haruki, Mayumi Hosokura and Your Perspective (Shiseido Gallery, January 16 through April 18) and DOMANI: The Art of Tomorrow Exhibition: Creating Space (National Art Center Tokyo, January 30 through March 7). She has just announced installations of new and old works at both venues.
The exhibition at TARO NASU brings together around ten entirely new works that reveal Haruki's expanded perspective on universal truths derived from the individual, prompted by a prolonged period of self isolation spent engaging in internal dialog on her personal experience of isolation and also reflecting on the broader nature of the relationship between the individual and society.
Press release courtesy Taro Nasu.