Alan Johnston + Atsuo Hukuda

In Praise of Shadows

Bartha Contemporary is delighted to announce "In Praise of Shadows", an exhibition of works by gallery artist Alan Johnston and Atsuo Hukuda, organised and curated by Naoko Mabon of WAGON.

The exhibition will be held at Suisei-Art, 11-8-1 Sanjyamachi, Kanazawa-City, Ishikawa 920-0861, Japan. from May 12 to June 3, 2018

The exhibition press-release states: Entitled as In Praise of Shadows after a 1933-4 essay by Junichiro Tanizaki (1886-1965), this exhibition aims to
set up a site-specific installation by the artists as their direct and artistic responses to the space of Suisei-Art in
a Kanazawa Machiya. This part of Kanazawa’s architectural heritage, originally built in the pre-war period, still
holds the shadow – and the dull, delicate light – that Tanizaki praised. They are, according to Tanizaki, one of
the unique fundamentals within the Japanese sense of beauty and aesthetic – which, however, is now being
lost under the glaring electric lights introduced by the West after the Meiji era. This attempt therefore aims to
highlight the now-lost Japanese sensibility and aesthetic once again by focusing on the shadow and light of
Tanizaki within a particular architectural environment – Kanazawa Machiya – through a contemporary approach,
whilst paying respect towards Kanazawa’s history and tradition.
To achieve this, a collection of Hukuda’s signature gold leaf-based thin, light paintings will be installed within
the particular architectural environment of the historical venue. This will silently represent Tanizaki’s mentioning
of the reflection of gold leaf in the Japanese room in his essay: ‘faint golden light cast into the enveloping
darkness, like at the glow upon the horizon’. Also, a few bespoke drawings by Johnston will be realised on-site
onto the venue’s large glass sliding doors/windows, as well as displaying a selection of small paintings. Since
Johnston’s work consisting of a web of ‘almost invisible’ (as described by Charles Esche) pencil lines is often
conceptualised as ‘drawing a shadow’, this will resonate with Tanizaki’s admiration towards shadows.

This exhibition was made possible with the kind support of Shibuya Foundation for Science, Culture and Sports, Hope Scott Trust, The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation.

Suisei Art Building in Kanazawa-City

Further information on Wagon Art Website