Yuichi Hirako: New Home

Yuichi Hirako: New Home

Gallery Baton

June 11, 2024
Yuichi Hirako
New Home
June 5–July 13, 2024
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Gallery Baton
116 Dokseodang-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea
04420 Seoul
Republic of Korea
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–6pm

T +82 2 597 5701
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Yuichi Hirako deals with the coexistence and interdependent relationship between nature and humans through his original style of depiction, in which metaphors and symbols stand out. In his second solo exhibition with Gallery Baton, Hirako manifests his interests and particular subjects in richer expression by organically combining painting with sculpture or installation and selectively applying traits of diverse media.

He was born and spent his childhood in Okayama Prefecture of Japan, whose natural environment is outstanding and fertile. Having acknowledged that a dense forest adjacent to his village plays a pivotal role in the whole local ecosystem every flora and fauna relies on, he could naturally pay attention to how urban green areas and indoor plants had developed mainly to comfort people psychologically while studying in London. Addressing questions like “Are they destined to be implanted in artificial spaces, be controlled in the basic activity of living, and cease to exist one by one?” his critical awareness of how people treat nature grew into the fundamental theme of his practice. His viewpoint is related to the philosophy of Deep ecology, which understands nature as a unified totality. Thus, through his extraordinary visual language, Hirako has consistently insisted that nature is an independent object that deserves respect and fair treatment rather than being a target to overcome or dominate.

The hybrid character, not only a central leitmotif but a basis of his work, appears frequently in his practice; moreover, other plant and animal figures including dogs and cats, nourish the complex narrative and construct the details of the entire storyline multi-faceted from his core theme. The massive group of wooden sculptures, taking a significant part of the exhibition, is achieved through many trial and experiment steps since building a large-scale colony came into his first plan; they confirm that the artist’s commitment to embodying what he has persistently observed from inherent aspects of organism has reached a more mature phase. Having their individualities in sizes and details, though they look alike at a glimpse as they share material properties, the sculptures simulate “the regional modification within an identical group,” which is a signature phenomenon of nature as a system.

The exhibition title, New Home, is Hirako’s alternative answer about the ideal universe of the future that would fold later on, as suggested from the human point of view. An evident tendency of the current world, where nature has become a target of extreme exploitation, is radical faith in scientific rationality and rhetoric. From this biased perspective, even if taking only the appearance of hybrid characters into account, the practice by Hirako seems surreal and uncanny enough. Ironically, he points out from such a point and re-enlightens us with a witty but sometimes stern voice that we are amid the present epoch when the history of tacit coexistence between nature and human beings maintained over numerous years is under-estimated as abnormal or regression.

Yuichi Hirako (b.1982) has held solo exhibitions at numerous museums including Space K Seoul, KR (2023); Nerima Art Museum, JP (2022); and Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, JP (2018). He has been active in the global art scene, presenting a large-scale bronze sculpture of his iconic character at Frieze Sculpture (2023) and collaborating with the Hermès Hong Kong Window Project (2023), further cementing his public profile. He has participated in group exhibitions at Asia Culture Center, KR (2023); Powerlong Museum, CN (2021); Chapter II, KR (2018); Nagi Museum Of Contemporary, JP (2013); Ueno Royal Museum, JP (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, JP (2010); and Museum of Modern Art, Gunma, JP (2010).

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June 11, 2024

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