It’s difficult not to get sucked into the vibrant works of Japanese artist Hikari Shimoda. Amidst the bright bubblegum colours lie deeper, darker meanings. Bold, dynamic brushstrokes and her layers of textural collage bring a level of unapologetic attitude. Each piece of art screams not to be ignored.
And once your attention has been captured, how can you look away from those large, searing eyes? They are gateways to step through and sit with your own emotions. Mirrors held up to society’s current turmoil. But don’t pull back: we are in this together. In her latest major solo show at Corey Helford Gallery, Hikari Shimoda’s starry-eyed children remind us of the energy and will that we need to keep moving forward.
Hikari Shimoda: Fight to Live in the Void
In 2022, it seems the world is on a path of turmoil and despair. My art begins with how I feel and think about today’s society. What I create, aims to visualize a certain perspective on society. Too much information today obscures the truth, which evokes a sense of helplessness, emptiness, and despair in people. In those moments, we must not stop searching for what’s true. To me, fighting to live is repeatedly questioning oneself when feeling empty inside.
‘色即是空、空即是色’ (‘Shikisokuzekuu, Kuusokuzesiki’) is one of the most popular teachings of Buddhism, literally translated as ‘Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.’ I interpret this as ‘there is no truth in a particular form or idea, and the figure or thought of a human being reflects and is shaped by the state of society.’ This teaching appears throughout my Fight to Live in the Void show. These new works are a contemplation of the existence of human beings.”
Opening Reception: June 25, 2022 | 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Artist will be in attendance!
Exhibitions Dates: June 25 – July 30, 2022
Corey Helford Gallery
Main Gallery, 571 S Anderson St (Enter on Willow St)
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Visiting Hours: Thursday – Saturday | 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Please note: Masks continue to be required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, until further notice.
For inquiries, contact the gallery via [email protected]
Hikari’s signature characters celebrate her own take on the traditional Japanese manga and anime from her youth. Based in Nagano, Japan, Shimoda first studied illustration at the prestigious Kyoto Saga University of Art and Aoyama Juku School. She later began her career as a professional contemporary artist in 2008. It wasn’t long before Hikari Shimoda was selected for her first solo exhibition at Motto Gallery in Tokyo. She has since held exhibitions in galleries worldwide, including in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, becoming an international sensation.
Hikari uses a fascinating mixed media process to create each individual artwork. Many works are intricate collages using newspapers. “Although newspapers are considered old media now, I think they play a similar role to paintings, in terms of fixing and visualizing the events of that era as substances. Noting newspapers are filled with what is currently happening in the world, I intentionally use anonymous characters to express modern emotions through a human being, such as myself.” She explains.
Building on the manga she grew up with, Hikari’s large-eyed children are often dressed in heroic costumes resembling the well-known superheroes and magical characters which exist in an anime sub-genre. This sub-genre often focuses on young girls who use magic, revealing problems and struggles in contemporary society. Through a juxtaposition of brushwork, text, and collage, Hikari brings her own comments on modern society to life. Her characters also explore our complicated relationship with “saviours”, from Christianity’s anointment of Jesus Christ as a saviour of humanity, to our fascination with fantasy heroes.
Each work is a multifaceted exploration of what it is to be human. They are juxtapositions of youth and adult responsibilities, cuteness and horror, bright colours and darker themes.
Hikari’s portraits of children are full of countless possibilities. They are described by the artist as “where fantasy meets reality, past meets future, and life meets death, in a world that is yet to be reborn.”
The children’s eyes in my works, not only reflect their personality, but they also express my own feelings and thoughts.
Featuring 25 pieces (including works from her series “Children of This Planet,” “Question the Focus,” “God Is Dead, But…,” “Defense,” and “Fight the Void”), Fight to Live in the Void marks Shimoda’s sixth solo exhibit at CHG (following her major solo Silence and Affirmation and mini-solo Affirmation of Existence at the gallery in 2020). The spectacular evolution of her paintings continues as she contemplates the drama of the 2022 world stage with this new body of work.
“They are ‘anyone’ who just exists.” Hikari shares. “So, they could also exist beyond the realm of being children and identify with anyone who might appreciate them. Those children who are wearing a vacant expression of despair and solitude are mirroring the emotions of the people who look at them. Those vacant children are, so to speak, ‘cups of my emotions’─ something which I could pour my emotion into. Their sparkling eyes are staring into space, while reflecting both light and darkness, and those horns are a metaphor of wordless emotions, such as fury and despair, that people feel towards unreasonable things in this world.”
With each new piece, Shimoda advances her search for salvation and her deeper understanding of this chaotic world.
Shimoda will be in attendance for the on the opening night from 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm in the Main Gallery. This opening will happen alongside All Creatures Great and Small, a five-artist exhibition featuring Ewa Prończuk-Kuziak, Dewi Plass, Matt Dangler, Phillip Singer, and Richard Ahnert. All Creatures Great and Small opens in Gallery 2 plus Ryoko Kaneta’s solo entitled In Our Nature, in Gallery 3.