George Hayashi Solo Exhibition

George Hayashi Solo Exhibition "COSMIC DUAL FORCES"

2022.08.26(Fri) – 2022.08.31(Wed)

YUGEN Gallery hosted a solo exhibition by George Hayashi called Cosmic Dual Forces from Friday, August 26 through Wednesday, August 31.

Respect for nature and wildlife


George Hayashi has works in the collection of the Japanese Consulate General in Shanghai and the Japanese Consulate in Taiwan, and he has joined Art Fair Shanghai as a representative of Japan. He is particularly popular around Asia, having created murals for a casino hotel in Macau, a world-class bar in Shanghai called Speak Low, and facilities for the Nike sportswear brand.

He was born in Tokyo in 1978. Ink wash painter Sogiku Hayashi was his grandmother, and his fashion-designer mother also painted Japanese-style pictures, so he grew up in an environment surrounded by relatives involved in the arts.

"I had all kinds of art materials around me and was taken to many museums, but it was all quite formal. My grandmother was especially strict and didn't allow for freedom or fun." He says that he never had a good impression of being an artist, and felt he would rather follow the path of music than painting.

This kind of distant, remote relationship with artistry helped form Hayashi's own artistic sensibility. He was strongly influenced by hyper-contrastive colors beginning with his love for American cartoons and movies in his childhood, as well as that of artists like Jakuchu Ito, Hokusai Katsushika, Tadanori Yokoo, and Taro Okamoto. It is fascinating here to note that his interest lay in Japanese artists, not Western painting.

"I first encountered Jakuchu Ito in my twenties, when I was being influenced by street culture and painting graffiti. That very flat, depthless 2D perspective was so interesting, I thought I wanted to try it myself. I also got a sense of greatness in the work of Tadanori Yokoo, for example, in the fact that there was this information contained in a seemingly simple 2D expression."

The images lack any three-dimensionality or shading, making them incompatible with Western painting. Jakuchu's work Birds and Animals in the Flower Garden, in particular, was of particular impact on Hayashi with its elaborate depiction of a garden paradise full of exquisite flora and fauna in a mosaic-style pattern of over 80,000 squares, each with its own divisions, giving it the feeling of more an elaborate design than a painting.

Freedom from exploitation by anyone or anything


Hayashi works under the concept of Nomad Heart, which is based on a fascination with the energy of nature and instincts and drives of wild animals. He frequently uses a motif of lions because he has an affinity to the way they do not have their own territory, but rather migrate in search of a place to live comfortably and increase the size of their pride. He positions them as a symbol of the nomad, who escapes the confines of a narrow identity and centralized gathering place.

The theme of this exhibition, Cosmic Dual Forces, is the Tei Yin Tai Chi of Feng Shui. His work interrogates how we can relate to others and the world based on the conception that the quiet, internalized energy of Yin is the reverse side of the dynamic, radiating energy of Yang, and all that exists is created from the balance of those two forces. In addition to new paintings, the exhibition will also feature works unconnected to the theme that pay homage to masterpieces beloved of Hayashi—for example, Hayashi created a version of "The Last Supper" with a pop approach. There are about 15 pieces on display.

"I want to paint what lays on the other side of the energy of nature and animals. There is fierceness in things that appear serene, and peacefulness in things that appear fierce. Nothing in the world can be understood through any single viewpoint," he says. He wants to evoke the imagination to see behind events we witness.

The work Cosmic Dual Forces 01 features two lions facing off in powerful opposition. Although at first glance they appear to be enemies, Hayashi's depiction shows them living apart from any ideology or other self-focused struggles, relying on and complementing each other while respecting each other's freedom. There rises a nomadic worldview that includes stubborn insistence on opposing any movements that deny one's freedom, and aggression in support of free living. It also affirms the feeling of distance in coexisting with others, the "ma" or margin in Japan.

Like Jakuchu, who was in awe of the life force of living creatures, George Hayashi's reverence for animals and nature is the driving force behind his work. Animals and nature simply exist, regardless of any meaning humans give them. In human society, each individual exists in a fundamentally unrelated way. At the same time, they are connected almost accidentally in all kinds of relationships, which can be broken at any time. We can sense the unfiltered reality in nature and animals because they show this utterly openly.

Living reality through the layered drama of Yin and Yang


With the advent of the internet and its evolution into social networks, many believed that we would see the birth of an ideal communication society. However, we cannot deny that rather than the ideal of being connected in open and cross-sectional relationships, this has in fact created closed spaces full of people constantly monitoring each other, and society is increasingly divided. French philosopher Gilles Deleuze has said, "Creating has always been something different from communicating," and says that noncommunication is essential. Creativity is achieved by having opportunities and spaces where communication is broken off.

Hayashi, who once stayed far from his grandmother in art, realized he would come to regret that, so became her apprentice in his mid-twenties to learn ink wash painting. He learned about the aesthetics of blank spaces and omission, and says "I developed a style that interweaves the figurative with the abstract." The intermingling of colors and the overlapping of figuration and abstraction is a depiction of the margins of relationships between nature, animals, and modern society, which can become chaotic if human hands become too much or too little involved.

George Hayashi seeks to transform an inane society where there are no margins, where everything is in a state of obstruction, into a free and intelligent one where everyone can demonstrate their abilities, where living reality through the layered dual drama of Yin and Yang, of stillness and movement, arises by creating those margins and blank spaces.

Highlight works:

Note: Some works on display may change. We appreciate your understanding.

Regarding sales:

At the same time as the exhibition is held, it will be possible to view and purchase the works on the YUGEN Gallery official online store.

See also:

From Control and Becoming: Gilles Deleuze in conversation with Antonio Negri. (Conversation with Toni Negri Futur Anterieur 1 (Spring 1990), translated by Martin Joughin.)

George Hayashi


Born in Tokyo in 1978.
He has been designing apparel brands since he was a teenager, and has collaborated with many companies such as the drinking water brand Cheerio. Since 2010, he has been based in Shanghai and has held exhibitions at galleries and museums in China and abroad. He is engaged in various activities such as painting New Year's greetings for the Chinese government at the Japanese Consulate General, and painting murals for stores such as SG CLUB, Esujiro (all in Tokyo), and El Lequio (Okinawa) in Japan.

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2022.08.26(Fri) - 2022.08.31(Wed)


YUGEN Gallery


Token International Building 3F, 2-12-19 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo



Weekdays: 14:00-19:00
Weekends: 13:00-19:00
Note: will close at 17:00 on the last day


Artist appearance:

August 26 (Fri) All day
August 27 (Sat) All day
August 28 (Sun) Afternoon
August 31 (Wed) All day



Entrance fee:



Please note that the exhibition period and opening hours are subject to change without notice depending on circumstances.