MAKI Gallery opens a solo exhibition by Kamakura-based artist Anne Kagioka Rigoulet

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MAKI Gallery opens a solo exhibition by Kamakura-based artist Anne Kagioka Rigoulet
Anne Kagioka Rigoulet, Portrait-pair-2, 2022, oil and mixed media on panel, 112.0 x 162.0 cm.

TOKYO.- MAKI Gallery is pleased to present Addition - Subtraction, a solo exhibition by Kamakura-based artist Anne Kagioka Rigoulet at the Tennoz I gallery space. The title of this exhibition refers to Kagioka’s unique method of expression in sculptural oil painting, as well as her multifaceted approach to pursue the essential nature of painting. Featuring 18 works from Portrait—a new series of paintings of people’s faces—the exhibition continues the exploration of her Figure and Element series presented at her solo exhibition in 2021, and demonstrates a new artistic dimension the artist has reached. We hope you come and see Kagioka’s latest works, which continue to evolve.

Kagioka continually endeavors to bring out the invisible properties and elements that exist behind the visible, depicting abstract forms and the vitality of nature as they appear in everyday life. The artist has produced a number of works based on water reflections, adopting an unconventional technique combining the classical mural decor technique called sgraffito (“to scratch” in Italian) and fabric collage. Her sculptural paintings, developed through a repetitive process of adding and subtracting, waver between figuration and abstraction and splendidly capture the complexity and vibrancy of the water’s surface. In her signature Reflection series, the artist captivates the brilliant energy of the moment when a landscape reflected in water moves towards an abstract vision; while her Figure series vividly illustrates the way a human figure reflected in the water’s surface distorts and blends with the background.

Element, attempts to portray the power of a single motif by isolating massive boulders from their backgrounds, leaving areas of the cotton canvas exposed. The presence of negative space, reminiscent of an ink wash painting, gives the painting a sense of tension and expansiveness and emphasizes the vigor of the dynamic rocks.

The approach and contemplations addressed in her previous works are carried over and developed in her newest series, Portrait. In Figure, the human figure blended with the landscape, but now, the focus turns to the face, becoming the central subject of the work. With each successive series, the subject matter becomes more limited, and Kagioka’s work draws closer to the essence of painting. Despite continuing to depict reflections on the surface of the water as in her previous works, her interest in Portrait shifts towards the motif of the face itself. Here the fluid energy of the water is translated into the physical features of the face and its movements, which appear in a more tangible form. Contrasting with the neutral background devoid of surrounding elements, as well as the textured rendering of the face, Kagioka’s portraits depict in more detail the morphological changes in the image’s transition towards abstraction. The image of the face is distorted, transformed, compressed, exaggerated and subdivided by natural forces such as water and wind, and is repeatedly dismantled and reconstituted. Unfettered forms that transcend the human imagination, together with rhythm, color, and material, as well as the textural volume of the work, create a complex and delicate expression. Following the process of transfiguration, the expression in her work leaves a strong and dynamic impression on the viewer.

The works of Portrait-pair further reveal the development of Kagioka’s artistic practice, in which the loss of three-dimensionality is experimentally demonstrated with restrictions on the number of colors, saturation, and surface texture. This physical subtraction has brought about a new effect of conveying the multilayered nature of the work by exposing the fundamentals of the work’s composition, such as balance, coarseness, density, and shading.

The representation of portraiture in Portrait can also be discussed in the context of art history, which deals with the issue of two and three dimensionality. Cubism, which revolutionized European art in the early 20th century, produced works with fluidity and vitality by combining images from multiple perspectives onto a single canvas. Kagioka takes this a step further and adds sculptural elements to the work, thereby augmenting its visual complexity. Looking at her work in the context of the history of portraiture, it is also noteworthy that her approach to the genre which witnessed a decline in the 20th century with the advent of photographic technology, is far removed from its traditional socio-political nature. While certainly representing individual qualities in color, form, texture, and movement, Kagioka’s portrait goes beyond 'someone's face' and, like the surface of water, reflects back at the viewer, stimulating their imagination and perception.

With her unique expression, Kagioka pursues the exploration of the fundamental nature of painting, building a path towards a new history of painting. We invite you to experience the life-shaking dynamism of her works at the exhibition venue.

Born in 1987 in Kanagawa, Japan, Anne Kagioka Rigoulet completed a BFA in Oil Painting in 2011, followed by an MFA in Mural Painting in 2013, at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts. Kagioka went on to enroll in Fresco and Mosaic at the Ecole Nationale Superieuredes Arts Appliques et des Metiers d’Art in Paris, and continued her studies in Fresco at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, later establishing her own studio in Kamakura where she works today. Kagioka’s sculptural paintings utilize a unique method that combines fabric collage with sgraffito (“to scratch” in Italian), a classic technique used in mural decor where multiple layers of paint are applied, then scraped away to reveal the colors underneath. Kagioka’s interest lies in capturing the ephemeral moment when a familiar landscape transforms into an abstract vision, and since 2014, she has been working on a series of sculptural paintings, Reflection, based on her studies of water reflections from around the world. From the Reflection series emerged the Figure series, which straddles abstraction and representation by portraying figures reflected in water. In addition, Kagioka’s experience at an artist residency program in Luxembourg in 2019 birthed the Element series, in which she depicts mammoth rock formations—gradually carved out by water erosion since ancient times—with thinly layered paint on delicate, bare canvas. The expressions and compositions explored in these three series have continued in the Portrait series, syayousya which focuses on the human face reflected on the water’s surface. Kagioka’s works, composed of imposing yet exquisite colors, vacillate between abstract and representational, two-dimensional and sculptural forms, while continuing to fascinate viewers with their perpetual transformation and unique worldview.

Her solo exhibitions include Transition, MAKI Gallery (Tokyo, 2021), A Moment of Immersion, Sakurado Fine Arts* (Tokyo, 2018), Reflection: 2015-16, Sakurado Fine Arts* (Tokyo, 2016), and Anne Kagioka Rigoulet, Sakurado Fine Arts* (Paris, 2014). She has also participated in various group exhibitions and mural projects in Japan and Europe, as well as multiple art fairs around the world.

*renamed MAKI Gallery in June 2020

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