Hikari Shimoda: Fight to Live in the Void. Corey Helford Gallery

Hikari Shimoda: Fight to Live in the Void. Corey Helford Gallery

Downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) is proud to announce their next major solo show Fight to Live in the Void, featuring new works from Japanese artist Hikari Shimoda and set to premiere June 25th in the Main Gallery.

Inspired by her own unique take on Japanese manga, Shimoda arrived onto the international scene in 2014 with her U.S. exhibition Fantastic Planet, Goodbye Man at CHG, introducing her very popular ongoing series, “Children of This Planet” and “Whereabouts of God. Since then, Shimoda has become one of the most widely recognized names in New Contemporary art rising out of Japan.

Sparkling and sweet, Shimoda’s work is at once enchanting and disarming, portraying a world where cuteness and horror coexist. Her portraits of children are full of countless possibilities, described by the artist as “where fantasy meets reality, past meets future, and life meets death, in a world that is yet to be reborn.” Adding, “The children’s eyes in my works, not only reflect their personality, but they also express my own feelings and thoughts.” Featuring 25 pieces (including works from her series “Children of This Planet,” “Question the Focus,” “God Is Dead, But…,” “Defense,” and “Fight the Void”), Fight to Live in the Void marks Shimoda’s sixth solo exhibit at CHG (following her major solo Silence and Affirmation and mini-solo Affirmation of Existence at the gallery in 2020) and the spectacular evolution of her paintings, as she contemplates the drama of the 2022 world stage with this new body of work.

Regarding her new works, Shimoda shares, “In 2022, it seems the world is on a path of turmoil and despair. My art begins with how I feel and think about today’s society. What I create, aims to visualize a certain perspective on society. Too much information today obscures the truth, which evokes a sense of helplessness, emptiness, and despair in people. In those moments, we must not stop searching for what’s true. To me, fighting to live is repeatedly questioning oneself when feeling empty inside.

‘?????????’ (‘Shikisokuzekuu, Kuusokuzesiki’) is one of the most popular teachings of Buddhism, literally translated as ‘Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.’ I interpret this as ‘there is no truth in a particular form or idea, and the figure or thought of a human being reflects and is shaped by the state of society.’ This teaching appears throughout my Fight to Live in the Void show. These new works are a contemplation of the existence of human beings.”

She adds, “Many of the works are collages using newspapers. Although newspapers are considered old media now, I think they play a similar role to paintings, in terms of fixing and visualizing the events of that era as substances. Noting newspapers are filled with what is currently happening in the world, I intentionally use anonymous characters to express modern emotions through a human being, such as myself.”

Shimoda will be in attendance for the debut of Fight to Live in the Void on Saturday, June 25th from 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm in the Main Gallery, opening alongside All Creatures Great and Small,a five-artist exhibition featuring Ewa Pro?czuk-Kuziak, Dewi Plass, Matt DanglerPhillip Singer, and Richard Ahnert in Gallery 2 and a solo show from Ryoko Kaneta, entitled In Our Nature, in Gallery 3. Until further notice, masks continue to be required for entry into the gallery, regardless of vaccination status.

About Hikari Shimoda:

Sparkling and sweet, Hikari Shimoda’s work is at once enchanting and disarming, portraying a world where cuteness and horror coexist. Based in Nagano, Japan, Shimoda first studied illustration at the prestigious Kyoto Saga University of Art and Aoyama Juku School before beginning her career as a professional contemporary artist in 2008. Soon after, she was selected for her first solo exhibition at Motto Gallery in Tokyo and has since held exhibitions in galleries worldwide, including in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Inspired by the Japanese manga and anime from her youth, Shimoda’s work expresses modern day issues in colorful and illustrative techniques. Often depicting starry-eyed children, she dresses her characters in heroic costumes resembling Superman and magical girls, an anime sub-genre of young girls who use magic, revealing problems and struggles in contemporary society through a juxtaposition of brushwork, text, and collage. Such characters are a commentary on Christianity’s anointment of Jesus Christ as a savior of humanity, and a mirror of our fantasy heroes. They also represent our adult desire to nurture the children of the world and to defend the world we have constructed.

Following the Great East Japan Earthquake and accident of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in 2011, Shimoda became increasingly interested in various connections in the world. In her portrait series “Whereabouts of God” (featuring other-worldly children adorned with a Chernobyl necklace) and “Children of This Planet” children act as a blank canvas for what she describes as countless possibilities; where fantasy meets reality, past meets future, life meets death, in a world that’s yet to be reborn. Not only do the eyes in her works communicate each character’s personality, they’re also a reflection of Shimoda’s own feelings and ideas. The artist shares:

“They are ‘anyone’ who just exists. So, they could also exist beyond the realm of being children and identify with anyone who might appreciate them. Those children who are wearing a vacant expression of despair and solitude are mirroring the emotions of the people who look at them. Those vacant children are, so to speak, ‘cups of my emotions’? something which I could pour my emotion into. Their sparkling eyes are staring into space, while reflecting both light and darkness, and those horns are a metaphor of wordless emotions, such as fury and despair, that people feel towards unreasonable things in this world.” With each new piece, Shimoda advances her search for salvation and her deeper understanding of this chaotic world.

Last year, Shimoda released her first art book The Art of Hikari Shimoda (Blue Angel Publishing), featuring over 100 artworks. In celebration of its release, BOOKMARC by New York fashion brand Marc Jacobs hosted a special event featuring a book signing and the opening of a solo exhibition from Shimoda.

About Corey Helford Gallery:

Established in 2006 by Jan Corey Helford and her husband, television producer/creator Bruce Helford (The ConnersAnger ManagementThe Drew Carey Show, and George Lopez), Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) has since evolved into one of the premier galleries of New Contemporary art. Its goal as an institution is supporting the growth of artists, from the young and emerging, to the well-known and internationally established. CHG represents a diverse collection of international artists, primarily influenced by today’s pop culture and collectively encompassing style genres such as New Figurative Art, Pop Surrealism, Neo Pop, Graffiti, and Street Art. Located in downtown Los Angeles at 571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033, in a robust 12,000 square foot building, CHG presents new exhibitions approximately every six weeks. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, with visiting hours being Thursday through Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm. For more info and an upcoming exhibition schedule, visit CoreyHelfordGallery.com and follow on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube. For available prints from CHG, visit CHGPrints.com.

OPENING RECEPTION

June 25, 2022 | 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

ON VIEW

June 25 – July 30, 2022

COREY HELFORD GALLERY

571 S. Anderson St. Los Angeles, CA 90033

Open: Tuesday-Saturday, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Visiting Hours: Thursday-Saturday, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

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