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Masashi Mihotani Solo Exhibition

“Images are for illustration purposes”




Saturday, August 24th, 2019    18:00-20:00



2-7-5-5F, Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0031

Tel: +81 3 5843 9128



Saturday, August 24th, 2019 - Saturday, September 21st, 2019

Tuesdays through Fridays, 13:00-20:00

Saturdays, 12:00-19:00 (closed on Sundays, Mondays, and National Holidays)

*Closed during September 3rd (Tue) to September 7th (Sat)


- Date & Time:     17:00-18:00 / Saturday, September 21st, 2019

- Venue:                   KANA KAWANISHI PHOTOGRAPHY

- Speakers:               Miho Odaka (curator) × Masashi Mihotani (artist)

from the series Images are for illustration purposes

©︎ Masashi Mihotani, courtesy KANA KAWANISHI GALLERY

KANA KAWANISHI PHOTOGRAPHY is pleased to announce the opening of Masashi Mihotani’s solo exhibition, Images are for illustration purposes, from Saturday, August 24th, 2019.

This exhibition, which will become the first occasion for Mihotani to showcase at KANA KAWANISHI PHOTOGRAPHY, has the term “images are for illustration purposes” as its title. Today, where mass-consumption society has almost reached literally everywhere, Mihotani uses packages of snacks, food, and daily commodities he finds in supermarkets like any other consumer would daily encounter in their everyday living.​

These packages, where “images for illustration purposes” are loudly printed in order to stimulate appetites and other desires, are the materials of Mihotani’s production in which he makes a photogram of them in his darkroom. The works shown in this exhibition are images acquired from these photograms, hand-printed in color by the artist himself.

During the process of being penetrated light instead of a photographic negative, the materialistic texture of the food packages, including creases and crumples appear; colors become reversed; photographic factors such as framing and trimming become added. With all these elements, the images result in throwing their viewers freely away into the middle of nowhere from their starting point in which had a clear context.​

The images that we have been profoundly familiar with reappear in front of us as a different dimension of the mass-consumption based capitalism. We warmly welcome all to this exhibition where works by Mihotani vividly awaken the unconsciously executed behavior of seeing and cognizing.​

from the series “Images are for illustration purposes” | ©︎ Masashi Mihotani, courtesy KANA KAWANISHI GALLERY

from the series “Images are for illustration purposes” | ©︎ Masashi Mihotani, courtesy KANA KAWANISHI GALLERY

from the series “Images are for illustration purposes” | ©︎ Masashi Mihotani, courtesy KANA KAWANISHI GALLERY

from the series “Images are for illustration purposes” | ©︎ Masashi Mihotani, courtesy KANA KAWANISHI GALLERY

from the series “Images are for illustration purposes” | ©︎ Masashi Mihotani, courtesy KANA KAWANISHI GALLERY

from the series “Images are for illustration purposes” | ©︎ Masashi Mihotani, courtesy KANA KAWANISHI GALLERY

Artist Statement

Production of this series is done in a color darkroom, featuring illustration purpose images printed on the packages of snacks and daily commodities found in convenience stores and supermarkets. Surfaces of chocolate boxes and packages of frozen food have light penetrated through as though they were a negative. The light penetrated through the materials even transform the textures of those surfaces with their creases and crumples into the images, and have colors reversed from their originals become fixed. Being detached from their original contexts, the concrete information in which used to be easily associated with their purposes disappear, leaving the viewers puzzled with the intangible images on the photographic paper.

When seen as a behavior of light, the reversed colors could be interpreted as the backside of light, as they were colors absorbed into the materials that could not reach our eyes. Like thermography, what we see are scenes captured through physical contact with the actual reality. If so, perhaps the photographic paper is a metaphor of the innumerable channels that exist as a medium that can visually capture light. Furthermore, our cognition structure lies on top of this. With the enlarger and framing being added as another layer, the images become unknown existences as they are detached away from the concepts that have been wrapping the objectives together, although they used to be a certain familiar existence. The images embedded into the mass-produced printed materials could be seen as a creature that reflects the nature of the consumption society with their halftone dots and images stimulating the human appetite, as though creatures selected by nature speak of their surrounding environment through their patterns, forms, and biologies.

The reasons why I continue photography roots back to my memories of when I was a child and used to catch insects. The process of experiencing their familiar yet unknown presences, as well as how the multilateral recognition evolves through the experience of sharing with others, is very similar. Furthermore, the fascination of encountering an insect I had never seen before heavily reminds me of when I meet with these images in my darkroom. The accumulated memories of the huge variety of colors and patterns may be functioning as a feature value (*) inside me while I still continue to see daily life with my eyes as is. Such formative experience of seeing continues towards my current interest against the status of “I see.”

—Masashi Mihotani

*feature value:

In computer vision and image processing, a feature is a piece of information which is relevant for solving the computational task related to a certain application. This is the same sense as a feature in machine learning and pattern recognition generally, though image processing has a very sophisticated collection of features. Features may be specific structures in the image such as points, edges or objects. Features may also be the result of a general neighborhood operation or feature detection applied to the image.

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Artist Profile

Masashi Mihotani was born in Osaka, Japan in 1987. His major solo exhibitions include Images are for illustration purposes (2016, ZAZIE hair, Osaka, Japan) and Look for an insect (2014, La galerie, Osaka, Japan). Group exhibitions include 2019 Dali International Photography Exhibition (2019, Dali, China), YPF exhibition 2019 (2019, galerie MONSTRE, Arles, France), Today is (2019, Sony Square Shibuya Project, Tokyo), NEW JAPAN PHOTO 7 LAUNCH EXHIBITION (2018, CHI-KA, Dubai, UAE), and New Project (2018, Higashikawa International Photo Festival, Hokkaido, Japan). In 2018, Mihotani received “JAPAN PHOTO AWARD” (selected by Mutsuko Ota, Editorial Director of IMA),  and the same year, he was also shortlisted at “HARIBAN AWARD 2018,” organized by the Benrido Atelier.

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