Chihiro Kabata/Yuuri Kabata "Miniature Garden and Schwarzer Wald: Simulacra and Blind Illusion"

Installation view. Left: Chihiro Kabata. Right: Yuuri Kabata.

The Art Front Gallery is now holding an exhibition of the works made by two sisters: Chihiro and Yuuri Kabata. The two share a studio and their work may well be seen as a creative dialogue that scrutinizes color and space. The majority of the works are displayed in the two separate galleries within the main location, with one larger, rented space a short walk away, housing Chihiro Kabata’s large-scale composistion which consists of twenty-four separate panels.
Chihiro Kabata’s medium of choice is deceptively humble—she works in ball-point pen on paper—makes the commanding final result all the more surprising. The ink appears to hover over the surface of the support, de-facto realizing the metaphor of ukiyo-e: the shapes in her images become “the floating world.” It is especially clear in the form-shifting panels of the largest work in the exhibition.

Chihiro Kabata, ball point pen on ink jet paper, 24 individual panels.
When the individual panels are fitted together they compose what an elliptical gap of light amidst the inky darkness, but the arrangement should not be seen as finite because the upper left portion of the composition indicates that the gap would repeat itself if more panels were added, extending the oval motif for as long as a wall would permit. The panels, then, become something akin to interchangeable organic building blocs. This interchangeability (the panels could be bought separately as well), effectively cancels out the very notion of the work’s completion, while stressing visual ambiguity of Kabata’s ink forms.

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