"Where is Alice?" Exhibition of Drawings by Kahori Maki

2022.05.20(Fri) – 2022.05.25(Wed)

Graphic artist Kahori Maki is holding "Where is Alice," her first exhibition of drawings only, at YUGEN Gallery from Friday, May 20 to Wednesday, May 25.

Alice is not anywhere but "here"

Graphic artist Kahori Maki is holding her first all-drawing exhibition, "Where is Alice?"

Maki's core work is "products, spaces and words" that emerge from a single drawing.
After graduating from Nihon University College of Art, Maki moved to the United States to study fine art in New York. After returning to Japan, she began her career as an illustrator and has worked on advertising, fashion, textiles for sports brands and spatial design for corporations and hotels. With a father who is a painter, she decided at an early age to make a living by painting. Influenced by her mother, a flower arrangement teacher, she often paints "gorgeous and energetic things," such as flowers and plants, through her current works.

Drawings that continued during anxious days

Maki says that at the root of her work, she is attracted to the world of monochrome, such as the shades of ink. Maki's vivid worldview, which is now known both in Japan and abroad as something that activates the viewer's cells, was inspired by the Great East Japan Earthquake. She began to paint works reminiscent of large-shaped tropical flowers, saying, "Many people are looking for something gentle and glamorous, and I want to depict a bright world." Maki further explains that she is drawn to the curves that characterize her work and represent flowers and plants.

The drawings she is presenting this time are of the same type. "Two years ago, when the state of emergency was declared and all art supply and printing shops were closed, I had to work with only what I had in my studio, which was a large amount of kraft paper. I just kept drawing in pencil on the thin paper that normally is used to protect artworks," says Maki, explaining what led to this exhibition.

Also, unable to print large-size works, she found that when she used the printer in her studio to print out her drawings in A3-size sections and then randomly joined these parts together, a single picture emerged that she had never expected. Maki's production style, in which she does not draw with a clear image in mind but connects what comes out from moving her body and draws in response to the world that appears as she moves her hands, has led her to a new technique called wall collage.

Overlapping curves started to emerge as she kept moving her hands with the anxiety that everyone was feeling in "days of loving the landscape, painting it, and trying to solve the mystery by moving away from it." The new shapes that these overlapping curves create have emerged as a new motif in Maki's work.

The eye that sees reality and the eye that sees the inner world

"In the face of the global spread of infectious diseases, I was anxious and searching for where we were headed, and I became aware of eyes and pupils that I had never painted before. I began to paint a lot of scenes of nature and living creatures, and things like living creatures."

Maki says that she has never been good at expressing her intentions clearly and has never liked drawing eyes. During the state of emergency, she says that she began to see intense images of people's faces and eyes that she had never drawn before. Maki draws both the left and right eyes somewhat off-kilter, and describes them as "eyes that see reality" and "eyes that see their own inner selves."

The rabbit symbolizes the creature that emerged as Maki immersed herself in the time–space created by the overlapping lines. This led Maki to the world of Alice in Wonderland, which she had previously worked on as a theme but never completed. For Maki, drawing became a daily search for Alice.

In addition to the drawings Maki has made over the past two years and new works for the exhibition, there will also be a wall painting in the exhibition, with Maki drawing directly on an entire wall of the gallery when setting up the exhibition space. Some 30 works depict birds and rabbits that seem to be escaping from the curves that characterize Maki's work, as well as things that no one knows, but that seem as if they exist somewhere.

Maki, who has designed many spaces and specializes in installations in which she "conceives of a picture from the space," has created a series of curves in her drawings that overlap with the "caucus race," a race in which Alice and her friends spin in a circle, that will transport the audience to Alice's world. The audience will feel as if they are sliding down into Alice's world.

Searching for a new world that exists nowhere else

Slipping unexpectedly into an absurd world is something that to us now feels incredibly close at hand. Is Alice's world a virtual world, where every place she goes is strange and everyone she meets is an animal that says and does incomprehensible things?

"There are infinite possibilities in creation, and people are capable of creating so many new worlds." According to Maki, it is the mission of an artist to show this. Maki says that even as her life, which she had taken for granted, was turned upside down, she searched with what she had on hand, and nevertheless "I was able to create a large number of works." This is the same Alice who realized how nonsensical it was to think that life could go on in the usual way. And we realize that Alice is us.

As we explore new lifestyles and values, there is a lot of talk about the metaverse as a parallel world that is distinct from the real world. How inefficient, slow-moving and ambiguous the real world seems from the virtual world, which is able to overcome all the limitations of reality. Where are we, the Alice who looks into the real and virtual worlds, and where are we headed?

"We are still in a world of chaos. I want us to find our will, to surrender, and to find fun, richness and possibility in the overlapping lines."

It is also suggestive that Maki, who has collaborated with Apple and Adobe Systems Inc. and has finished all of her past works digitally, has found a new world in low-resolution pencil drawings.

While keeping an eye on reality, a world of nowhere appears if one looks closely at one's own inner world. The new world that Maki found in her studio using only paper and pencil is "now, here."

Highlights of works





*Some of the works on display are subject to change. please note that.

About work 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.

Kahori Maki's "Where is Alice?" drawing exhibition art book


Visitors to the exhibition will receive a complimentary copy of an art book of Kahori Maki's "Where is Alice?" drawing exhibition.

The giveaway is limited to gallery visitors that have completed the following questionnaire. Fill out the questionnaire to receive your copy!

Note: The questionnaire is now closed. Thank you for your cooperation.

Kahori Maki's "Where is Alice?" drawing exhibition art book

Featured artist: Kahori Maki

20 pages in B4 format, list price: ¥1,650 (tax incl.)


Solo exhibitions


"What silhouettes talk about 2," ABOVE Second, Hong Kong


 "Sense of Wonder," Gulla Jonsdottir Atelier, California, USA

"Sense of Wonder," clinic, Tokyo, Japan


Jury Selection, Art Division, 12th Japan Media Arts Festival, Agency for Cultural Affairs

Gullblyanten Silver Award (Norway)



Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, Japanese translation by Hiroo Yamagata, Bungeishunju Ltd.

KaHori Maki


graphic artist Living in Tokyo. Drawing flowers, plants, and creatures as motifs, he develops from a single picture to products, videos, and spatial presentations. In addition to his own creative activities, he has collaborated with many artists and companies in Japan and overseas. Solo exhibition at Gulla JonsdottirAtelir /LA in 2018, mural painting in San Diego in 2019, and other global activities.

Go to author page

exhibition period

2022.05.20(Fri) - 2022.05.25(Wed)


YUGEN Gallery


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

Opening hours


Weekdays: 14:00-19:00
Saturdays and Sundays: 13:00-19:00


Writer's day

Friday, May 20, 16:00-19:00
Saturday, May 21, 15:00-19:00
Sunday, May 22, 15:00-19:00
May 23 (Mon) 14:00-19:00
May 24 (Tue) 15:00-19:00
Wednesday, May 25, 15:00-19:00

closing day


Admission fee



*Please note that the exhibition period and opening hours may change without notice depending on the situation.