Noe Aoki

Solo Exhibition


2021.4.17 (Sat) - 6.5 (Sat)

Plan Drawing for ANOMALY, 2021 ©Noe Aoki


OPEN: Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat 12:00 – 18:00
*Closed on Sunday, Monday, National holiday
*To protect public health against COVID-19, we will suspend the reception event.
*Due to its popularity, the exhibition has been extended.

We are pleased to announce the upcoming solo exhibition of works by the sculptor Noe Aoki titled “Mesocyclone” (*) from Saturday, April 17 to Saturday, June 5, 2021.

In 2019, nearly 10 years after Aoki’s solo exhibition “All that floats down” simultaneously held at Toyota Municipal Museum of Art and Nagoya City Art Museum, there were three large-scale solo exhibitions of her works (at Kirishima Open-Air Museum, Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, and Fuchu Art Museum) . For each of these exhibitions, Aoki came to grips with the particular space and made a point of showing works that were newly produced especially for them as opposed to merely showing the same ones at each, one after the other. After successfully completely this big undertaking, she will be having her first solo exhibition at ANOMALY.

Mesocyclone is also the title of a huge new site-specific opus of iron that derives from careful consideration of the space at ANOMALY and boldly transforms it. At the end of the exhibition’s run, it will be dismantled, and visitors will therefore not have the opportunity to see it ever again.

As such, Mesocyclone is a single-encounter work whose presence and power could never be conveyed by 2D monitor screens and photographs. The eponymous exhibition, which includes new drawings and prints, will be an excellent chance to learn about present shape of Aoki’s art.

kiri to yama (fog and mountain) (2019) Installation view, Kirishima Open-Air Museum, Kagoshima
Photo: Tadasu Yamamoto ©Noe Aoki

Born in Tokyo in 1958, Noe Aoki now resides in Saitama Prefecture. She embarked on artistic activity in the 1980s, upon her completion of studies at Musashino Art University Graduate School. As material, she was drawn to iron, which exists on earth in greater quantities than water and has been close to humankind since ancient times. She produces works through steady repetition of the simple process of cutting industrial iron plate and sheet into parts that she then assembles by welding them together. Through the agency of her hands, the resulting works are freed from the hard and heavy feeling associated with iron, as well as from the mental equation of sculpture with a material mass, and dramatically alter the space in which they are placed. Closely observing the exhibition space and site of the work’s placement, Aoki incorporates everything there, whether visible or invisible, and even the prospective viewers, into her creation. In so doing, she constructs a world of her own, and one that also differs from any installation. It should be added that, in recent years, she has broadened the world-view she probes with a more stratified expression, through the use of materials other than iron, including plaster, soap, glass, and corrugated sheet.

Left: furisosogu monotachi Ⅱ (all that floats down Ⅱ) (2012) Installation view, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi
Right: kiri to tetsu to yama – I (fog, iron, and mountains – I) (2019) Installation view, Fuchu Art Museum, Tokyo
Photo: Tadasu Yamamoto ©Noe Aoki

Aoki has produced large sculptures for both indoor and outdoor public space, and had many solo exhibitions in museums. She has participated in numerous art festivals such as the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale, Art Setouchi, and Aichi Triennale, and received many awards, including the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Art Encouragement Prize of fine arts; Mainichi Art Award; and Teijiro Nakahara Prize. While her work as an artist is therefore well-known, it is not widely known that, for the last 20 years, she has been actively holding iron-cutting workshops for children in various communities and continuously taking part in local farm work and festivals. She feels a strong attraction to the objects born from the everyday lives of the Ainu and other ethnic minorities in northern regions of Japan, and has a deep respect for all who labor on farms in rural areas. In cutting iron, Aoki always strives to express what she wants to see now and is not yet here, as opposed to proceeding from a pre-established target form or concept. What is the nature of the sculptor and sculpture to which Aoki aspires? And what can we absorb from the exhibition of her works?

sora no mizu – Ⅴ (water in the air – Ⅴ) (2006) Installation view “Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2006” Niigata
Photo: Tadasu Yamamoto ©Noe Aoki

Two and a half years have passed since ANOMALY was opened, and we are all now simultaneously experiencing a truly anomalous world that we had never even imagined. We urge you to see the work that go beyond the term “contemporary art” and were created by an artist who is our contemporary (in the sense of living this age with us) .

donten 1, 2 (cloudy sky 1, 2) (2019) Installation view, Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Nagasaki
Photo: Tadasu Yamamoto ©Noe Aoki

tateyama / nagasaki (2019) Installation view, Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Nagasaki
Photo: Tadasu Yamamoto ©Noe Aoki

I suddenly decided to make a spiraling sculpture.
So I made one, without knowing whether or not it could stand on its own.
Why does it spiral up and down?
Why a spiral?
Where is the spiral?
What does spiraling mean?

When I decided on “Mesocyclone” as the title,
I experienced vertigo for the first time in my life.
The lights on the ceiling begin to fall, spinning as if in a vortex.
The things around me go round and round while falling.
I cannot believe that I was standing on my two feet until now.
I don’t even know which way is up.
The ground is not a hard and flat surface.
So the landscape too was something that moves.
A situation never before seen – that is what I want to make.

Noe Aoki, April 2021

Mijin (2020) Installation view, gallery21yo-j, Tokyo, Filmed by Shu Nakagawa ©︎Noe Aoki

(*) Aoki selects the titles of works and exhibitions based on things she is strongly drawn to at the particular time.
The title of this exhibition is a meteorological term, and refers to a state of molecules and water circulating in this world, which Aoki constantly ponders. In her previous solo exhibition, she displayed Mijin (Atoms) , a work whose configuration unexpectedly foreshadowed that of the coronavirus, which subsequently went on to plunge the whole world into fear and disruption. Because of the impact of Covid-19, this work ended up having to wait patiently within the gallery in Tokyo’s Jiyugaoka district for all of four months until the opening of the exhibition there.


Noe Aoki Artist page

Notification of precautions and requests


To prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to ensure the safety of visitors, artists, staff, and the community in compliance with the government’s health guidelines, please take a moment for the following requests upon your visit.


To avoid three C’s (Closed and Crowded place, Close contact), please refrain from visiting the gallery in large groups.

Visitors are asked to wear masks and sanitize hands before entering the gallery. Hand sanitizer is available at the entrance.

Please refrain from visiting the gallery if you have symptoms such as a fever (37.5°C or higher) or cough.


Our staff will have temperatures taken before coming to work to check health conditions every day, and will guide you by adopting frequent hand hygiene and wearing masks.

The entire space will be regularly ventilated and we will disinfect the high-touch areas.


Please check our website or SNS for the latest information about opening hours, as we may change it or close the gallery in unpredictable circumstances.

We appreciate your cooperation.