Hiroko Masuko “bonsai extension”

Exhibition : 6 – 29 June 2013

ICN gallery proudly presents “bonsai extension” by artist Hiroko Masuko from 6 – 29 June 2013.
She has been chasing her depiction of drawing a unique interpretation of the world in the motif of “bonsai” minutely with pens. Bonsais that appear in her works grew as time went by and turned traditional sometimes or at other times showed “evolution” like animals. This is her first solo exhibition in the UK, which will include her new works expanding from her past ones.

Outline of the exhibition

“Bonsai extension”, will exhibit about a dozen works that Masuko has produced since 2006 with the motif of “Bonsai” that are proliferated. Exhibited work, “BONSAI ‘Ouroboros and Corolla’ “, has the theme of ouroboros that means “death and rebirth” and corolla that means eternal girlishness. The ring which is not yet complete proliferates further in search of completion. Masuko regards the picture plane as bonsai’s pot, when she produces a piece of work. This time, that picture plane is deformed unnaturally.



Hiroko MASUKO (b. 1982 ; Miyagi, Japan)
Currently living in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture. With unique interpretations such as Bonsai appearing like Chimaera or using empty Bonsai pots to embody the flora and fauna ‘after the Bonsai has left’ , Masuko elaborates new ideas which expands the image of Bonsai. Her works have already attracted enormous attention in the Japanese art scene.

Artist Statement

Bonsai is a unique Japanese culture that depicts natural scenery in a microcosmic way by planting trees in a pot. By using bowls and wires, trees’ growth is artificially restricted, by which the direction of branches’ growth and the growth speed are manipulated as the producer intends and, thus, the shape along the sense of beauty that each individual wants to express is aimed. Symbolic motif such as “Bonsai”. In its production process, I find artistic expression by human hands and beautiful harmony of nature itself and am attracted to them.
My paintings begin with drawing (of my images from surrounding scenery and culture), which I call “the seed of the picture”. This “seed of the picture” is equivalent to the young tree in bonsai and develops in a constraint of picture plane (or pot). There appears the contrast between the artistic activity that imitates bonsai’s shape and the natural beauty. In order to highlight the contradistinction of these images, I use simple expression method such as white and black, same lines by pen.

Saturday, 8 June 14:00 – 15:30
Artist Talk “Since 11 March 2011 …” Hiroko Masuko vs Sam Seager

A talk show between Sam Seager, a UK photographer that published “Broken Things” by taking pictures of post-disaster Tohoku, and Hiroko Masuko will highlight the activities and works by these two artists that confront the earthquake disaster.


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