Kyotaro Hakamata: Sculptural Negative

2023. 9.16 [sat] - 10.14 [sat] 11:00-18:00 (Saturdays -17:00) Closed on Sun, Mon and national holidays

We are pleased to announce Sculptural Negative, a solo exhibition of new works by Kyotaro Hakamata.

Hakamata questions the oppositional relationship between the sculpture’s surface and its unseeable interior and the interconnectedness between authenticity and imitation on the theme of ‘replication’. He continues to explore the question, ‘What is essential in the creation of sculpture?’ by focusing on the inextricability of the act of creation and the act of destruction. Since the 1990s, Hakamata’s works have consistently garnered interest due to his unique sense of balance and humorous craftsmanship, which utilizes industrial products that ‘are not reliant on conventional sculptural materials.’

In 2007, he produced Families, a set of four works featuring his family as a motif. Since then, he has been creating human figures made from layered acrylic sheets of color and this ‘Replica’ series in which he reconstitutes cut-out parts of commercially available products. In recent years, Hakamata has drawn inspiration from 20th-century modernist sculpture and portraiture. And through the ‘replication’ of his artistic production, he has opened a space allowing us to confront societal realities.

This exhibition will consist of approximately 15 new works in a wealth of mediums, which include a large-scale work developed from August Sander’s photographic portrait of two blind children and photographic works of letters fashioned from carrots and daikon radishes. Following his solo exhibition at the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art this spring, this exhibition will be an opportunity to introduce what Hakamata had begun to discover beyond the act of ‘replication’, his singular concept of Sculptural Negative.

//Artist Statement//

Sculptural Negative (The Joy in Creation)

I have been working on the issue of replication in sculpture for a long time. While replication implies the rational creation of things, it has the morally questionable aspect of imitation. In this contradiction, I found the visceral sensation of stepping foot into the boundary of what it means to create something. And from this, what I call ‘Sculptural Negative’ was born.

Although ‘replication’ is the creation of things in an operative process, it can hardly be called a creative endeavor. But within that practical and tedious process, I recently realized there is an intense ‘joy in creation.’ While quite far from ‘art,’ it is a joy that comes precisely from the rigorousness and automatic nature of the operative process. And if it were not for this, I would not have chosen to do this kind of austere labor.

The material of the sculpture already possesses an image before the artist even touches it. To create a sculpture is to destroy it and remake it into another image. Before considering the good and bad aspects of the new image that is born, what matters is the appearance of the new image and the wonder that it invokes. Clay becomes human lips.

Cloth becomes curtains, which creates unsettling spaces. Carrots and daikon radishes become letters and words. Acrylic boards become colorful stripes. I want to extract the exact moment, when those strong images are conveyed into the material, as intact as possible. The morally questionable ‘sculptural negative’ exists at the interface between clear imagery and the inescapability of the material.

Kyotaro Hakamata
August 17, 2023

Related events

  • 9.16 [sat] 14:00-15:30
    Talk session [Takashi Fukumoto (Curator, National Museum of Art, Osaka) & Kyotaro Hakamata]
    *RSVP required for the Talk session (Up to first 20 people)
  • 9.16 [sat] 15:30-17:00
    Reception party


Kyotaro Hakamata