Hiroyuki Oki

Solo Exhibition

Abstract Incarnation

2024.3.16 (Sat.) - 2024.4.13 (Sat.)

Opening reception with the artist: 3.16 (Sat.) 17:00 – 19:00

Talk Event: 4.3 (Wed.) 19:00 – 20:30
Speakers: Hiroyuki Oki (Artist), Yukio-Pegio Gunji (Researcher on Fundamental of Life), Machiko Chiba (Curator, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art)

Live Performance: 4.11 (Thu.) 19:00 – 20:00
Performers: zzzpeaker (a.k.a. gulpari), Fu Sakai, DJ Piro Piro (Hiroyuki Oki)
For more information, please click here

Live Performance: 4.13 (Sat.) irregularly held during opening hours / 18:00 –
Performers: Kohei Sekigawa, Aokid, Fu Sakai, Linz, DJ Piro Piro (Hiroyuki Oki)
For more information, please click here

Anomaly is pleased to announce the upcoming solo exhibition by Hiroyuki Oki titled Abstract Incarnation, running from March 16 (Sat.) to April 13 (Sat.), 2024. Besides showing a total of 11 film/video works including the latest as well as Color Eyes and other early works from the 1990s, the exhibition will display the 3D structure Black Hermitage and drawings.

Abstract Incarnation (2023~/2024) 3-channel HD video installation, Dimensions variable ©︎Hiroyuki Oki

Born in Tokyo in 1964, Hiroyuki Oki began producing films in the second half of the 1980s while pursuing studies in the Department of Architecture of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Tokyo. He made his debut as a director with the film The Truth of Desire, which he produced as an undergraduate. His monumental A Film of Buddy Matsumae, which has a duration of about three hours, stirred considerable interest when it came out in 1989, and he won the Special Juror’s Prize in the Image Forum Festival for his film Swimming Prohibited in 1990. He was hailed as a “descendant of Arthur Rimbaud” by Dominique Noguez, the noted French littérateur and film scholar. In 1996, his HEAVEN-6-BOX, which was produced by the Museum of Art, Kochi, was awarded the NETPAC prize at the 46th Berlin International Film Festival, and made his name known around the world. Oki has been invited to show works at numerous other international festivals, including the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Taormina Film Fest, Sundance Film Festival, NYC LGBT Film Festival, and Hamburg Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. In 2022, two of his works were selected for placement in the National Film Archive of Japan.

Oki’s activities are by no means confined to films and videos; his means of expression cover a wide range including live screenings, installations, physical performances, drawings, and paintings. He is a rare existence whose activities are a focus of attention even on the contemporary art scene. Starting with the exhibition “Temperature of the Time” held at Setagaya Art Museum in 1999,  he has participated in many exhibitions inside and outside Japan, including “How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in Global Age” Walker Art Center,  Minneapolis, USA (2003); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo,  Turin, Italy (2003); “Roppongi Crossing: New Visions in Contemporary Japanese Art 2004” Mori Art Museum (2004); “Sharjah Biennial 8” Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2007); “Out of Ordinary” The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA (2007); “The Age of Micropop: The New Generation of Japanese Artists” Art Tower Mito, Ibaraki, Japan (2007); “Life=Work” Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima (2015); “Aichi Triennale 2016 rainbow caravan” Choja-machi Area, Aichi, Japan (2016); “Doing History!” Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan (2016); “M+ Moving Image Collection” M+, Hong Kong (2021); αM Project 2022 “Have something that defines my judgment vol. 4 Hiroyuki Oki: tiger/needle” (gallery αM, Tokyo, Japan (2022); Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions 2023 “Technology?” Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2023); “Films by Oki Hiroyuki ‒ in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of The Museum of Art, Kochi” The Museum of Art, Kochi, Kochi, Japan (2023). It should be added that, last year, he was invited to show his I Like You, I Like You Very Much (1994) at the Barbican Centre in London, and that Hong Kong’s M+ showed his Color Eyes (1992), one of the works in its collection, on a large outdoor screen. As this evidences, Oki’s reputation is rising even higher.

“M+ Collection Highlight Videos” Installation view, M+ Facade, Hong Kong, 2023

This exhibition presents the first showing of Abstract Incarnation (2023-24), Oki’s latest film consisting of three images that have been architecturally arrayed, and footage shot at the three major cities of London, Shanghai, and Tokyo. It also presents Mu-Mi (2023-24), the latest work in the DIGI series that began in 1998 and is shot and edited under an exacting structure. More specifically, within a framework of ten chapters lasting three minutes each, Oki expresses fate/the world while facing up to the death of his own mother. The exhibition will show many other new works and additions to series. The list includes O my god! (2019-24), which interweaves humanity’s long past and present with footage shot in Israel, Ethiopia, Yamagata, and other places, and beguiles the viewer with its light (the nearly homonymous ohr means light in Hebrew); A Film of Buddy Matsumae 2024 (2024), the new addition to the Buddy Matsumae series that Oki has continued to film and produce since 1989 in the town of Matsumae, Hokkaido as part of his life’s work; and the latest edition of meta dramatic (2023-24), a crystallization of Oki’s practice combining video/film and live/performance. It was created and shown at the Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions as a commissioned project, and also evoked keen interest for the appearance of Masahiro Higashide in the leading role.

Mu-Mi (2023−2024)  HD video, 30min ©︎Hiroyuki Oki

With their linkage and superposition of fragmentary images and worlds, Oki’s film and video works have a both structural and poetic quality. In his critique titled “The Oki Paradox,” the film critic Tony Rayns offers the following words of praise.

“In respect of undertaking the work of the self struggling as it tries to be involved with the world and grasp its meaning, he (Oki) is more penetrating than any other filmmaker alive today. To him, the space in the interval between spontaneity and control is synonymous with the gulf between other polarities—active and passive, chaos and order, madness and sanity, and orgasm and insensibility.”*

Oki is hoping to sort out the distorted strains of this world by considering what he can bring to society/the world/the earth, and oscillating between the extremes. We viewers who come into contact with his films/videos have our fixed awareness of the present shaken. This causes us to question and think about society, and incarnates our prayers and words. Oki often says that contemporary society has fallen into a state of dysfunction and cognitive disorder. His works loosen up the rigid ideas and tense muscles caused by living in this society, and thereby make us cognizant of things we would have never even noticed.

O my god! (2019−2024) HD Video, 8min ©︎Hiroyuki Oki

In putting together this exhibition, Oki stated that he was going to build it “architecturally.” With his degree in architecture, he is still aware of the close connection between his film/video works and architecture. For example, the meticulous scenarios he creates are like architectural drawings. Similarly, the compositions in which fragmentary images are loosely connected and take shape as a whole are also analogies of buildings in Oki’s view. To him, the term “architecture” refers not only to structures such as buildings, but also people, things, time, process—in essence, everything from the substantial to the conceptual. Although he is held in high regard as a film/video artist, Oki also calls himself an “architect,” and this exhibition is nothing other than a building for him. Before our eyes unfolds an exhibition that has been conceived architecturally as regards not only the works but also all other elements, including installations and performances in the gallery, the connectivity of the works themselves and the relationship with viewers and time.

Apropos of the aforementioned architectural conceptions of connectivity and relationship, it should be added that Oki also does this with his own actions and performances. One of his traits is his willingness to take the trouble to update the compositions of series consisting of many works, and the compositions of exhibitions as well. The time and space of each work are contained in it, and this is also true of exhibitions. Just as Oki’s works are constructed through the intertwinement of different shots, i.e., different time-spaces, so too the exhibition space is formed and changes with the passage of time. Oki adds changes to the displays while addressing the situation prevailing at the time. Pay attention to his actions during the run of the exhibition, and see what happens and is brought into being by them.

The present, the now that has arrived after the long history of humanity and material. In this solo exhibition, a total of ten film/video works, each with their own distinctive land, people, time, rhythm, and words, will be arranged throughout the entire exhibition space. As they walk around this space, pausing at times, the viewers will each be bathed in the successive waves of instantaneous ki (spirit, opportunity, beauty, strangeness) radiated by the works. This is bound to give birth to micro-movements as yet unknown in the history of humanity, and fill minds, values, bodies, and souls that are liable to be stiff and inflexible in contemporary society with < love, light, and power >

The huge contemporary system based on the power of materials applied by humanity and its cumulative intentions, and the immense mystical system of nature possessed by each and every viewer—what emerges in the exhibition space with the admixture of plural images of these systems is the < incarnation of beauty and belief > among space, time, and humanity.

– Hiroyuki Oki

This exhibition is a precious opportunity to get a full picture of Oki’s activities. Please do not miss it! We are looking forward to seeing you at the exhibition.

On April 3 (Wednesday), in the second half of the exhibition’s run, we are holding a talk event with Yukio-Pegio Gunji (Researcher, Fundamentals of Life Theory) and Machiko Chiba (Curator, Tokyo Municipal Museum of Art), who curated the αM Project 2022 Have something that defines my judgment, vol. 4, Hiroyuki Oki: tiger/needle. We hope you will come to this event as well. For details, please access the websites and social media accounts of ArtSticker and Anomaly.

meta dramatic (2023−2024) HD Video, 32min ©︎Hiroyuki Oki

*A tentative translation of the Japanese translation of “The Oki Paradox”, a critique by Tony Rayns, on p.4 of HEAVEN-6-BOX, published by Daguerreo Press, Inc./Image Forum, 1996.

[Exhibition Outline]
Artist: Hiroyuki Oki
Exhibition Title: “Abstract Incarnation”
Dates:2024.3.16 (Sat.) – 4.13 (Sat.)
Open hours:  12:00 – 18:00 *Closed on Sundays, Mondays, and National holidays.
Opening reception with the artist: 3.16 (Sat.) 17:00 – 19:00
Talk Event: 4.3 (Wed.) 19:00 – 20:30
Speakers: Hiroyuki Oki (Artist), Yukio-Pegio Gunji (Researcher, Fundamentals of Life Theory),
Machiko Chiba (Curator, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art)

Very Special Thanks to:
Kobo Hamada / Masahiro Higashide / Yu Ito / Shu Isaka / Shinjiro Maeda /
Takamitsu Miyagawa / Ippei Nakao / Tomomi Nishimura / Ryuichi Ono / Hokuto Sajiki /
Fu Sakai / Yoichiro Serizawa

Hiroyuki Oki News Archives