Motoko Ishibashi:
Guru Den

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21 April –

25 May 2017

Guru Den is the first solo show by Motoko Ishibashi with a live performance by Yuki Kobayashi. Ishibashi’s practice spans across painting, printmaking, installation and performance. This exhibition focuses on a recent series of small-scale paintings and a large work on canvas, representing the many faces of the Guru Den.

Combining conventional styles of painting with contemporary references, Ishibashi’s recent works look at the female body through the lens of classical painting, and off-stream online platforms such as 4chan. The depiction of the figures on the canvas is presented in a way that refers to many styles and artistic movements throughout history. In some of the works the suggestion of the body melts away into the lines of the canvas, creating an almost utopian landscape. This creates a playful ambiguity between the painting’s own position and the subject matter within.

Her recent body of works express the artist’s interest in pushing the boundaries of bias and taste, where she investigates the notion of good and bad styles. She heightens our awareness of the stereotypes of good painting, which make the viewer feel familiar and comfortable, largely taken from our understanding of art history and its rhetoric. In her paintings there are references to over sexualisation of innocence and the female figure, a common aesthetic tradition in, which Ishibashi combines with disparate images challenging the composition and creating sense of illusion within her work. She distorts the perspective and combines the romantic and the descriptive, illustrating how the role of landscape art in Japanese painting corresponds to that of the nude in the west. 

Motoko Ishibashi (b.1987) received her MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2015 and completed her BFA at the Slade School of Fine Art, London in 2013. Recent solo and group shows include: HYPOKEIMENON, en dessous du sang Galerie Nadine Feront, Brussels (2017), Honesty is the greatest fidelity, Yamakiwa Gallery, Niigata (2016), E-cus project Motoko Ishibashi, Cotton, Saitama (2016), Caput-Medusae, Westminster Waste, London (2016), Knots, All welcome (except you), Vilnius (2016), RCA Degree Show, Royal College of Art, London (2015). Ishibashi has upcoming shows in Italy, Japan and Canada in 2017 and 2018.


Installation Views


Performance by Yuki Kobayashi

Tuesday 25 April, 6pm

Yuki Kobayashi’s action-based performances seek to reveal the authenticity of the human condition, working with the unexpected and the spontaneous to uncover the invisible, questioning power and restrictive social codes in light of freedom and equality. There will be a screening of Yuki Kobayashis performance to coincide with Peckham 24, from 19 to 20 May.


Guru Den by Freddie Feilden