Ryosuke Misawa | NOH: Mykonos

1 - 12 July 2023

The exhibition "NOH" is inspired by a collection of plays called "Modern Noh Plays" written by Yukio Mishima. To explain the reasons behind this choice, it is necessary to talk about my previous works. Since my debut in 2020, I have consistently focused on the theme of "conceptual renewal" as a social norm that transcends the framework of contemporary art through my exploration of "media" (films, animations, image archives, photographs, etc.). My foundation lies in dismantling and reconstructing my own captured images or public domain materials to create new visuals, challenging entirely new compositions and visuals by utilizing the retrogressive nature of the "media" itself. I propose a technique called "media paradox" that utilizes this approach.


The reason I chose the theme of Mishima's "Modern Noh Plays" for this exhibition is because I felt a connection between the methodology the author practiced in literature and my own longstanding approach to artistic creation. I sensed the potential to update a step in contemporary Japanese art through the commonalities I found between Mishima's works and my own.


As an essential step towards this exhibition, it was necessary for me to reflect on my previous works. With a background in film, which I have studied since my student days, I expanded my artistic boundaries to include photography, digital painting, drawing, and painting. In my exploration of the retrogressive nature of the media I focus on, I hypothesized that transcending the fixed concepts through a meta-perspective examination of the temporal aspects of the chosen media should not be limited to just the technique itself.


To test this hypothesis, I first needed to delve into the history of a field closely related to my research. In doing so, it felt very natural to turn my attention to Japan's classical performing art form, "Noh theater," which still exists in the present day. Above all, I was deeply impressed by the fact that Noh theater does not rely on elaborate stage settings but rather expresses metaphysical themes while transcending time and space. I strongly felt its compatibility with the media I use in my works. Furthermore, when I discovered that my revered writer, Yukio Mishima, had written a collection of modern plays based on Noh theater, titled "Modern Noh Plays," the concept for this exhibition became clear.


By combining the "media" I have been dealing with and the technique of utilizing digital painting through modern technology (media paradox), and drawing inspiration from the classical performing art form (Noh theater) and the modern plays (Modern Noh Plays) that pay homage to it by a literary master, I interpret the visuals as visual information and recreate them as analog paintings on a two-dimensional canvas.

This endeavor aims to launch a visual representation imbued with an extremely contemporary sense of Japanese aesthetic consciousness, prompting viewers to rediscover it. It also serves as an opportunity to critically examine the medieval, modern, and contemporary artistic cultures, piercing them through the lens of contemporary art as a receptacle. Through a multi-faceted and personal perspective, it becomes a chance to study and explore my deeply personal emotions living in the present, as well as the memories and timeless values of Japan's predecessors.


Enter Viewing Room