exhibitionMotoko IshibashiAssholes18.06—15.07.202156 Conduit Street

18.06—15.07.2021 Wednesday—Saturday
56 Conduit Street

V.O Curations is pleased to announce Assholes, a solo exhibition by Motoko Ishibashi. Created in Tokyo and during her three-month residency at V.O, the show presents a group of new paintings alongside a series of photographs made collaboratively with artist, Urara Tsuchiya, and fashion photographer, Yuto Kudo. 

Motoko Ishibashi’s practice amalgamates Western and Japanese visual languages through painting, performance, installation, video, photography and printmaking. Engaging with mass consumer culture as well as digital subcultures, her work considers relations of power, gender, the body and selfhood within technologically-mediated society. 

On view are a group of new paintings depicting butts and groins in vivid colours. Made with acrylic and spray paints, as well as sand, glitter, glue and beads, the compositions make reference to the ways in which social media platforms and web-browsing influence ways of seeing. Based on images sourced from Instagram as well as tabloid, fast fashion, lingerie and soft porn websites, Ishibashi’s paintings are a self-conscious negotiation of the politics of looking and being looked at - a process that she herself is complicit in. 

Appearing as a series of soft, waterfall-like lines, On hard (2021) is a large-scale painting of celebrity tennis player, Rafael Nadal. Bending over in a pair of sheer, white tennis shorts, the athlete’s butt has been cropped to the point of abstraction. Taking her cues from the Instagram and Twitter accounts, @nadals.ass and @RafasFamousAss, Ishibashi’s composition highlights the ways in which image-driven networked capitalism simultaneously flattens and objectifies bodies. Similarly, Hustlers (2021) depicts a bikini-clad Jennifer Lopez, bent over and spreadeagled. Painted from a cropped film still, the work speaks to the way that female bodies and bodies of colour are swept into and consumed by the unrelenting image economy. A third large format painting, Break Ya Neck (2021), is hung low to the gallery floor, sitting atop and crushing two stuffed and painted baguettes. This sense of play continues in a performative installation. Small mounds of clothing displayed on top of old bath mats along with single socks have been scattered across the gallery floor, capturing the spirit of stripping down before jumping into a bath. 

Spanning two sides of the gallery, Ishibashi has created a multimedia installation comprising a series of photographs displayed on top of painted walls. Created together with Urara Tsuchiya and Yuto Kudo during the pandemic in Japan, the series of photos, ⾦泉湯 (Kin Sen Yu), takes the Japanese communal bathhouse, or sentō, as its focus. Dressed in mesh bodysuits and wearing wigs and face paint, Ishibashi and Tsuchiya are photographed performing various acts that defy conventional bathhouse etiquette. With the assistance of props such as fruits, vegetables, sake and laptop computers, the two artists eat, imbibe, play and role play. The photographs employ humour and drama as a way to both celebrate and destabilise the bathhouse as a traditional symbol of Japanese culture.

To mark her residency and exhibition, Ishibashi and her collaborators have created a limited edition set of postcards. Produced as part of V.O Print, a series of printed materials that reinforces the organisation’s dedication to the unique perspectives and practices its artists, curators and researchers, the set is comprised of seven images from the ⾦泉湯 (Kin Sen Yu) series, selected by the artist. Released in a limited edition of 50, the postcards will be available for purchase in the gallery and on the V.O website.

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