G-77 Gallery's Vision of Contemporary Japan

G-77 Gallery was founded by Andrei Mikhilov in St. Petersburg Russia. Mikhilov had a longstanding interest in Japanese art – a country that he had lived in for 10 years – and when he opened G-77 it was one of the first galleries in Russia to represent contemporary international artists with a particular focus on Japan. After several years of success in Russia, in 2011, Mikhilov decided to relocate the gallery to Japan, eventually opening up his current space in Kyoto City Center in 2014.

Hiroko Tsuchida, "BLEND - push beyond one’s limit," 2017, Plastic muddler, rubber coating wire, stainless steel, lacquer paint, 25.5 x 19 x 17.7 inches, Courtesy G-77 Gallery

Mikhilov was drawn to If So, What? because of founder Sho-Joung Kim-Wechsler’s vision for the fair, as well as an interest in having an opportunity to exhibit in San Francisco for the first time. G-77’s booth at ISW will feature contemporary Japanese female artists, including Hiroko Tsuchida, Hiroko Shiina, and Kaoru Yamamoto, who Mikhilov says, “represent the Japanese contemporary art scene at its best.” The works will offer viewers insight into some of the most dynamic work coming out of Japan today.

Hiroko Tsuchida creates dramatic works that move between design and contemporary art. She works with metal, as well as found everyday objects, including pins, bells, band aids, whistles, scissors, and other ready-made objects, transforming them into conceptual tools for self-expression. Among the works that G-77 will exhibit at If So, What?  is BLEND~push beyond one’s limit (2016), a black swan made of 6,163 plastic muddlers – an item most commonly used by bartenders. The work responds to scholar Nassim N. Taleb’s “Black Swan” theory, a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise and has a major effect on history, which is then rationalized inappropriately due to the benefit of hindsight. Tsuchida’s work uses this as a jumping off point, exploring the way in which an artist should always be ready to challenge conventional logic. The work itself is a metaphor, representing Tsuchida’s desire to spread her wings and transcend the limits of her current knowledge.

Hiroko Shiina, Black Box - Consolation, 2017, Ink, coffee, coloured pencil, paper on wooden panel, 46 x 28.7 inches, Courtesy G-77 Gallery

Also on view will be works by Kaoru Yamamoto, a multimedia artist who creates digital images that model the motion of traditional Japanese painting. G-77 will exhibit five scenes from Yamamoto’s work Lovers 100. The work features 100 animated clips in motion that depict a couple in love, journeying through Osaka and coming upon various famous landmarks from the city. The work is boundless, mirroring Yamamoto’s notion of love. The 100 individual scenes are stitched together seemingly at random, with no discernable central scene. The work draws on a Japanese pop aesthetic, using digital animations and emoji-like graphics to convey the emotion of the piece.

Finally, G-77 will present Hiroko Shiina’s gorgeous and disturbing Black Box – Consolation (2017), which explores the archetypal sexual allure and mystery of the female. Drawing on the centuries-old Japanese tradition of depicting small details, Shiina provides her personal investigation into the hidden psychology of the female. Through the work she opens a Black Box, which leads her to a parallel, mysterious world. Here, the borders between reality, memory, dream, fear, and pleasure are blurred. Viewers are invited to view the work like voyeurs, navigating their understanding of Shiina’s world throufh delicately depicted small details.

Visitors to If So, What? will get to experience works by Tsuchida, Yamamoto, and Shiina, among other contemporary Japanese artists, and learn about current trends among Japanese artists working today.