The Situation - Images to Excite the Imagination

The Situation - Images to Excite the Imagination

2022.06.11(Sat) – 2022.06.19(Sun)

YUGEN Gallery hosted the exhibition The Situation - Images to Excite the Imagination from Saturday, June 11 through Sunday, June 19, curated by Gallery Shop Marco.

Young Artists Molded by Pop Culture and Humanism

This exhibit focuses on three artists who show enormous future potential.

They are Haruka Kameyama, who uses image editing smartphone apps to create works around the keywords "pleasure and contradiction;" Koutaro Tsuda, who creates works through a worldview of human connection filtered through characters like robots and heroes as motifs; and Haruyo Higashi, who elevates the panel form of manga from the ephemeral to the eternal.

Gallery Shop Marco, which opened in 2020, is a cross-cultural space which offers carefully selected goods ranging from vintage clothing to contemporary art, and follows the concept of "clothing and art that nurtures humanity."

"Looking at vintage clothing from over 100 years ago shows the lifestyles, who wore it and for what purpose. For example, the sewing, fabrics, buttons, and other specifications for hunting jackets and military wear and such have changed over time. They were born from the relationship between the times and society, and not something just set by the will of the creator alone," says owner Komoda.

The conclusion from that is that clothing as a product is a context-dependent conceptual art, and art and fashion run parallel as focal points of the times and artist's thinking.

Fantastical images mixing truth and falsehood

The focus this time is on young artists in their twenties who bring a raw sense of exciting power to their images as they evoke a focal point of the times we live in using pop culture techniques from anime and manga.

Haruka Kameyama creates works around the keywords "pleasure" and "contradiction." She overlays characters created through analog painting on photographs of dioramas made with toys and such, then uses image editing smartphone apps to develop a lighthearted fun worldview like that of children's animation. However, despite the superficial poppiness of the characters and motifs she edits, the "forced unpleasant settings and strangeness drawn together" depict a jumbled mix of of good and evil.

Koutaro Tsuda, whose work is characterized by tokusatsu movie-like paintings of robots, dinosaurs, was born and raised in Hokkaido, where he continues to keep his working base. In the period just after he started learning to paint, he made exhaustive self portraits out of a sense that self-exploration would be the most effective way to examine the world . However, he then began to emulate hyper-realistic expression techniques used in Baroque paintings of Bible scenes that he learned about in graduate school at Hokkaido University of Education, and combined them with the visual expression of manga—something clearly foundational to his own identity—to depict a fantasy reality that jumbles the real and the false. You could say that this hints at the world in which we now live, where the real and virtual are beginning to merge.

Haruyo Higashi began drawing manga as an elementary school student. She considers panel-style presentation, which is often ignored when reading manga, to be part of graphic expression rather than an arrangement of pieces completing a story. This can be seen in her life's work, "Experimental Manga (Comics are like Music)," in which she draws manga panel by panel to music. Music is a temporal art form which fades after appearing, and it is only completed when all the sounds fade in sequence. She layered that idea onto manga expression, where a world is revealed through sequential panels. In this way, she hopes to achieve the permanence of paintings for the ephemeral art form of panel expression.

A never-ending quest for humanity

 Komoda explains that the three artists' work share an attraction, comparing them to doors. "Doors you want to open. Doors that, when opened, could lead to all kinds of rooms, or to a maze. The power of these images is that they are so rich in allegory which pushes the switch of the imagination."
The Humanism espoused during the Renaissance is defined as an ethical attitude that places humanity as a universal, and gives the highest value to the goal of improving of humanity and human society. The return to the classical value placed on exploring human nature syncs with Tsuda's model of Baroque painting, for example, which emphasized the Bible, and is also aligned with Kameyama's work which takes the view of humanity as existing between angel and beast. Higashi's attempts to free us from time, which limits our existence, is also a prompt for those of us living in these modern times to think about our own liberation.

Offering the film Star Wars as an example of an ideal where life forms of all kinds can communicate as equals, Komoda is seeking to create an equal world for fashion and art. The three artists in this exhibit offer a world mixing the real and the false. What rises from these images, with their pop-culture flourishes and power to neutralize language, is humanism: an endless concern for the human being.

Highlight works:

Haruka Kameyama: Day after tomorrow Land #W

Koutaro Tsuda: Daidanen (Denouement)

Haruyo Higashi: Paper people/Sons of Liberty

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

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:

"Encyclopedia of Western Philosophy: Understandings concepts and history" (Keizō Ikimatsu Gen Kida Shuntarō Itō, Chikuma Gakugei Publishing)

Haruka Kameyama


Kameyama's works are primarily made through combining analog painted characters with diorama photographs, and images made with smartphone photo editing apps. In opposition to the superficial pop styling of the painted characters and edited motifs, the forced settings and strangeness of the works combine to create a lighthearted and fun worldview

Go to author page

Koutaro Tsuda


From his starting point of using self-portraits to confront himself as a way to explore the relationship between the self and society as he expanded his interest in the relationships between people, he has begun drawing graphic spaces mixing the subjective and objective using techniques from his own visual creative roots in tokusatsu films and manga using well known fictional characters and fictional scenes as footholds. He also has an interest in the dramatic expression and dynamism of Baroque painting, which he analyzed and studied in graduate school, and applies the results of that analysis to his own work.

Go to author page

Haruyo Higashi


Higashi uses manga techniques to create pictures.The manga panel serves as a protective device for the time contained within it. What if we take the panels out of a manga and put them on the wall? The moment it is unbound from the context that gives the contents of a single page a story composition, it transforms the panel into an expression of that instant itself, like a painting.

Go to author page


2022.06.11 (Sat) - 2022.06.19 (Sun)


YUGEN Gallery


Totate 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



Entrance fee:



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