Higashionna Yuichi


Yuichi Higashionna: An introduction—in brief

Unlike many of the Japanese artists who made their international debuts in the 1980s and ’90s, Yuichi Higashionna was fresh in having employed none of the stereotypical images—primarily the three Hs (Hinomaru, Hirohito, Hiroshima)—of Japanese PC, focusing instead on invisible, unnoticed aspects of Japanese society. The postwar Japanese middle class had been led to believe that items labeled with the catchy term “fancy goods,” such as the bay windows with lace curtains typical in prefabricated houses, plastic flower arrangements, and pastel-colored housewares, were imported and copied European styles, when in fact these styles and goods were neither European nor fancy, but purely Japanese insofar as they were found exclusively in Japan. “Fancy” was hence a quality of objects that cannot be regarded as copies, but only as simulacra. Thus it might also be said that “fancy goods” reflect an invisible element of Japanese reality.
Explicitly political art is merely a simplification of real politics, which functions via a micrological, invisible network of power relationships that consistently attempts to maintain a natural and ordinary role in our everyday lives. A politically ideal situation would therefore be achieved when nobody is conscious of the network’s smooth functioning.… Essentially political art deals with naturalized, unconscious politics in its attempt to reveal things invisible. In this respect, Higashionna has been focusing on the implicit politics of Japanese society as he exposes intimate and disgusting simulacra and intervenes in their everyday functioning.
In recent years, his interests have shifted from purely Japanese to more general contexts, going beyond the locality of Japanese simulacra to explore the full depth of the cultural functions of artistic expression, and especially of optical effects. In short, in this new stage, implicit politics are discovering a new optical art.… Seemingly natural environments are viewed as always implying a certain politics and institutionalism. Higashionna picks up a single quality (such as whiteness) and intensifies and exaggerates it to reveal its implications. He enters a white cube in order to deform it and intervene in its natural functioning. This intensification and exaggeration, intervention and deformation constitute Higashionna’s new optical art, humorously balancing uncanniness with artistic beauty.

Excerpts from Minoru Shimizu’s “Fluctuations in White and Black: Yuichi Higashionna’s ‘Light Works’,” in FL gasbook 26 (2022).


Born in Tokyo, Japan
Live and work in Tokyo

Selected Solo Exhibition

2023 awkward assemblages. CALM & PUNK GALLERY, Tokyo, Japan
2020 Large Interior. void+, Tokyo, Japan
Ota Art Archives(OAA) #2 Higashionna Yuichi. KOCA, Tokyo, Japan
2019 un-. Capsule, Tokyo, Japan
un-unheimlich. void+, Tokyo, Japan
2017 blank -prints and drawings-. Nihombashi Takashimaya Department Store Gallery X, Tokyo, Japan
2016 Spill Light. Yumiko Chiba Associates viewing room shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
2015 Play double. CAPSULE, Tokyo, Japan
let’s get dizzy. Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY
2014 bascule. CAPSULE/SUNDAY, Tokyo, Japan
Ubiq. Yumiko Chiba Associates viewing room shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
2012 Apparition. Yumiko Chiba Associates viewing room shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Yuichi Higashionna/FL. CALM&PUNK GALLERY and NADiff GALLERY, Tokyo, Japan
2011 fluorescent. Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY
2010 Exit Gallery, Hong Kong, China
VENICE/TOKYO. Venice Projects, Venice, Italy
Yumiko Chiba Associates viewing room shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
fluorescent/new prints&drawings. NADiff Gallery 2F, Tokyo, Japan
2009 The Exhibition on the 80th Anniversary of Musashino Art University METAMORPHOSIS – Objects today Vol.4 Yuichi HIGASHIONNNA. gallery αM, Tokyo, Japan
refract!. CALM & PUNK GALLERY, Tokyo, Japan
2005 YAMAMOTO GENDAI, Tokyo, Japan
2003 Setagaya Art Museum (corridor), Tokyo, Japan
2001 Gallery 101, Ottawa, Canada
2000 Nadiff, Tokyo, Japan

Selected Group Exhibition

2023 Plants and Lights, Dependence and Independence: Ver. 1. void+, Tokyo, Japan
2022 Passport to Shangri-La. The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Saitama, Japan
Positionalities. Kyoto City University of Arts Gallery @KCUA, Kyoto, Japan
At World's End, Garden and Interior ーYuichi Higashionna, Dorita Takido. AL|TRAUMARIS, Tokyo, Japan
2019 Overlap and Action (With KOUYAMA Yasuhiro). The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka, Japan
2015 GLASSTRESS 2015 GOTIKA. Berengo Studio, Venice, Italy
Roppongi Art Night. National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan
2013 Why not live for Art? II -9 collectors reveal their treasures. Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Junkies’ Promises: Curated by Iván Navarro. PAUL KASMIN GALLERY, New York, NY
2012 DAIKANYAMA ART STREET. Kyu Yamate-Dori Street, Tokyo, Japan
MASKED PORTRAIT PART II: When Vibrations Become Forms. Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY
Glasstress 2011. Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti, Venice, Italy
2010 The New Décor. Hayward Gallery, London, UK
Incidental Affairs: Contemporary Art of Transient States. Suntory Museum, Osaka, Japan
Constructivismes. Almine Rech Gallery, Brussel, Belgium
2008 Double Chronos. ZAP, Tokyo, Japan
The Masked Portrait. Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY
2007 Roppongi Crossing 2007 Future Beats in Japanese Contemporary Art. Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
THIS PLAY!. 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, Tokyo, Japan
2006 Sea Art Festival (Living Furniture). Busan Biennale 2006, Busan, Korea
Enjoyable House. Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya, Japan
2004 Officina Asia. Galleria d’arte moderna, Bologna, Italy
2003 ZONE. Fuchu Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
1999 ART / DOMESTICS Temperature of the Time. Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan


2012 GAS BOOK 26 FL. Tokyo: Gas As Interface Co., Ltd.
2009 Yuichi Higashionna Flowers. (text: Mari Nakayama) True Ring Co., Ltd.
2008 GAS BOOK 25 YUICHI HIGASHIONNA. Tokyo: Gas As Interface Co., Ltd.
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