Ueno Artist Project: “Contemporary Realism
—Transcending the Photograph and Video”

November 17 (Fri), 2017 – January 6 (Sat), 2018

Ueno Artist Project: “Contemporary Realism—Transcending the Photograph and Video Poster

Ueno, known for its many art institutions including the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum and Tokyo University of the Arts, has a long history as an art mecca that has fostered many important artists. Among those institutions, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum—“the home of the public entry exhibition”—has fulfilled a significant role by giving artists of all kinds a place to exhibit and develop their art. Now, to build on that history and foster new potential for the future, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum will launch the “Ueno Artist Project,” an exhibition series featuring contemporary artists who are currently active in art groups, under a fixed theme each time. Part one of the series takes the theme, “Contemporary Realism—Transcending the Photograph and Video.” In today’s society, with its flood of video and photographic imagery and information from city billboards, big screens, televisions, and smart phones, the exhibition will feature 9 artists who are sincerely pursuing “contemporary real ism” that is only possible in paintings.

INAGAKI Koji (Kokugakai)
IWATA Sohey (Nitten)
ODANO Naoyuki (Nihonbijutsuin)
KOMORI Hayato (Hakujitsukai)
SASAKI Rika (Joryugakakyokai)
SHIOTANI Ryo (Nikikai)
HASHIMOTO Daisuke (Dokuritsubijutsukyokai)
HIRUTA Mihoko (Shinseisakukyokai)
MOTODA Hisaharu (Nihonhangakyokai)



Komori Hayato has consistently pursued the sense of presence in objects and a level of perfection in his paintings, centered on still lifes. He spends a great deal of time elaborately depicting each object before his eyes, in a way that allows the viewer to perceive the sense of texture and volume. The motifs in his paintings have striking resemblances to the actual images—namely, his depictions of the fresh, moist rinds of lemons and skins of grapes; the solid and cool touch of ceramic plates and cups; the nonchalant-looking silver and copper pitchers/vessels that dimly reflect the light; and the even surfaces or the glossy textures of tablecloths and wooden tables arranged with objects.


One can say that Shiotani’s paintings are realistic, but at the same time non-realistic. However, each of his paintings also maintains a sense of oneness in its entirety. Because of those contrasting features, the viewers end up feeling somewhat bewildered as they stand before his works. The sense of time that flows in his paintings is completely different from that of a photo scene that mechanically captures a moment. Viewers might question whether the images in his paintings are realities or daydreams. Shiotani’s reality might lie in that undefinable sensation.


Hashimoto Daisuke is a young artist who has continued to theatrically depict the ruins of buildings, such as institutions and factories. The sight of how the concrete, steel-frame construction and weeds are exposed to sunlight in his painting reveal an indescribable beauty and sense of nostalgia.
Hashimoto actively adopts digital images using a computer, and aims to surmount that digital medium in a painterly manner. He has continually experimented with a trial-and-error process to seek out the right composition and lighting so that he can manifest the extent of depth and the sense of presence that is impossible to express through photography/film. That process also ingrained the profundity of his “circulating and retouching movements” into his painting.

ODANO Naoyuki

Odano Naoyuki has continued to depict landscape paintings with a sense of density; that is, they feel as if they were ingrained with memories, lyrics and nostalgia. We are able to experience the various scenes in his paintings with our entire bodies, together with the texture made of mineral pigments. Such scenes include a shore where one may have played during childhood; a path between rice fields where one may have caught dragonflies; rice fields where frogs could be heard croaking; and a typical village forest through which a single-track railway line runs. His landscapes disclose the nostalgic warmth that existed a couple of decades ago in Japan.

MOTODA Hisaharu

Motoda Hisaharu is a print artist who creates near-future ruins through adopting landmarks in urban areas as his motifs. From around 2004, he has consistently pursued this same theme mainly in the form of lithograph prints.
Motoda’s desolate cityscapes that are elaborately depicted in his lithographs seem to be posing a certain warning toward our unconscious minds. His cityscapes should be described as future Realism, or else the ending of Realism.


For the past several years, Hiruta has painted motifs connected to food. She begins her production by purchasing ingredients and then cooking a dish. She composes the images in the dish by spontaneously combining them as the motifs of her painting. As a preliminary work, Hiruta realistically portrays the motifs with watercolors. She then completes her work in the form of a large-scale oil painting. The enlarged forms of the ingredients, the texture and the colors completely shatter the ordinary images and preconceived ideas that we have toward food. Hiruta freely crosses the boundaries between the sense of taste, tactile sensation and visual perception.


Sasaki has consistently created her works based on the theme of “the brain=the mind,” through focusing on the analysis and synthesis process that occur inside the brain. She creates a 3D model of her own brain, based on the data of her brain MRI and CT scans, and then scans that image data. She pursues the “Realism” of the brain through converting the data while also traversing between 2D images and 3D objects.


Iwata Sohey is a painter who has inherited the traditions of the Rimpa School. In each of his paintings, Iwata adopts a dynamic composition, a classic Rimpa technique of tarashikomi / dripping, and a decorative feature. Within the surface of his work, he exquisitely composes colorful flowers, with red serving as the dominant color.
Iwata’s paintings vividly express the sense of existence and vitality inherent in flowers. “Decorative Realism” might be an apt way to describe his works. They reveal the joy of forms and colors within two-dimensional spaces, while also openly expressing the gorgeous and exuberant vitality of fresh flowers.


Inagaki Koji has regularly produced huge-scale paintings that reveal a strong sense of reality, which derives from his insatiable pursuit of realistic depictions. He has sought after such motifs as a woman’s face, the human figure, and a glass/mirror surface. In particular, his almost obsessive drive to continuously make his depictions on the surfaces of objects is quite overwhelming. Specifically, these surfaces include meticulously reproduced human skin, including wrinkles and cilia; the fabric of clothes; the grains of wood; broken pieces of glass and mirror; condensation formed on a window; and the profound expression of walls.


Major works

Major works
  • KOMORI Hayato, Blue Resonance

    KOMORI Hayato, Blue Resonance, 2015, Private collection

  • SHIOTANI Ryo, Ohmi's Countryside in the Late Spring

    SHIOTANI Ryo, Ohmi's Countryside in the Late Spring, 2016, Private collection

  • HASHIMOTO Daisuke, An Observatory

    HASHIMOTO Daisuke, An Observatory, 2016-2017, Tokyo University of the Arts

  • ODANO Naoyuki, Former Power Plant

    ODANO Naoyuki, Former Power Plant, 2013, Collection of the artist

  • MOTODA Hisaharu, Foresight: Tokyo Skytree

    MOTODA Hisaharu, Foresight: Tokyo Skytree, 2017, Collection of the artist

  • HIRUTA Mihoko, The Gorgeous Corn

    HIRUTA Mihoko, The Gorgeous Corn, 2016, Collection of the artist


    SASAKI Rika, BRAIN MUSEUM, 2017, Collection of the artist

  • IWATA Sohey, Rikuriku-gyo Carp

    IWATA Sohey, Rikuriku-gyo Carp, 2016, Private collection

  • INAGAKI Koji, Sloped (Three Surfaces)

    INAGAKI Koji, Sloped (Three Surfaces), 2012, Collection of the artist



November 17 (Fri), 2017 – January 6 (Sat), 2018
Gallery A, C
November 20, December 4, 18, 25, 31, January 1
9:30 – 17:30 (Last admission 17:00)
Days of Extended Hours
Fridays 9:30 – 20:00 (Last admission 19:30)

Tickets at the door |
General ¥500 / Seniors 65+ ¥300

Group tickets |
General ¥400
※Group rates - 20 or more people

※Admission free for visitors College students and High school students or younger
※Admission free for visitors (and one accompanying person) with a Physical Disability Certificate, Intellectual Disability Certificate, Rehabilitation Certificate, Mental Disability Certificate or Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate
※In each case, please show identification
※Admission is free on presenting a ticket (or stub) for the concurrent "Van Gogh & Japan"

Organized by
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture)


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