The Creatures

Installation view at the Foil Gallery

Risa Sato’s multimedia installation at the Foil Gallery is all about her “Kohachi” creatures. Sato invented them some ten years ago, gradually building an entire cosmology around these little but “immeasurably fierce” characters. In the current exhibition, the artist’s second solo showing at the Foil after a five year hiatus, Konachi are made to face the light, that symbolizes life, and the darkness, that symbolizes death. All the while their blank and expressionless faces hide the force and intensity within. The impersonal (no evidence of the brushwork) surfaces of the Konachi paintings jibe with Sato’s presentation of the creatures as impersonal on the surface (their deceptively smooth and round physique), but strong on the inside. This strength must be due to their numbers: even if there is only one creature in a given work we sense many more lurking just around the edge.

Sachiko Miki. Muffler, 2009, FRP, acrylic, iron, H 880xW 420xD 440mm

More humanoids could be seen just a short walk from the Foil, at the CASHI gallery. The CASHI is holding a solo show of Sachiko Miki, a sculptor based in Kanagawa. Miki’s creatures are quite different from Sato’s Konachi, even when large in scale (the biggest object in the exhibition is 182 cm tall), they have preciousness and gentility to them. Instead of the matt and impersonal surface that conceals Konachi’s fierceness, the creatures at CASHI are infant-like. They have big heads and translucent skin with warm pink patches and see-though veins. Their entire presence screams vulnerability. Miki works with FRP and acrylic which allows her to achieve weightlessness in motion, letting her creatures leap and extend all the way without breaking under their own weight.

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