Tanya Leighton is proud to present Altered Future, a selection of new paintings, drawings and sculptures by artists from the gallery’s programme. Our present reality has taken a counterfactual turn. We are made unavoidably aware that the course of world events can be unexpectedly diverted, and that even apparently singular events are differently experienced by communities and consciousnesses. In Altered Future, intergenerational artistic voices reflect upon fragility, daring to imagine new landscapes of labour, desire, identity and community. The artworks are contextualised and elaborated through short videos and commissioned texts by art historians and critics including Shiva Balaghi, Sonja-Maria Borstner and Sabrina Tarasoff.
In Hiroka Yamashita’s paintings, figures bathe in the gossamer-light of Japanese border zones and dreamscapes; her springs are psychic spaces that cure with Arcadian bliss.
To paraphrase the opening lines in Elizabeth Hardwick’s Sleepless Nights, stunned by heat and suffering; ‘it is June’; “This is what I have decided to do with my life just now. I will do this work of transformed and distorted memory and lead this life, the one I am leading today.” In Hiroka Yamashita’s paintings, figures bathe in the gossamer-light of Japanese border zones and dreamscapes; her springs are psychic spaces that cure with Arcadian bliss. How lovely to bask in the mooning presence of Yamashita’s foaming seas, dew-heavy trees, smelling of sea salt and damp grass. How beautiful to be swallowed into the timeless landscapes of these paintings. Swimmers with their toes touching infinity, volcanic baths, argent fish.
“Make a decision and what you want from the lost things will present itself,” Hardwick writes. She struggles with what memories to carry with her into the twilight of grief and posthumousness. That dawning light is where Yamashita’s figures are palliated, where her palette emerges from—the fully stocked basement of the mind, its shelves filled with a selection of melancholic thoughts to pick from. Her paintings focus on landscapes we sink into as soft salves; she paints them so as to conserve the cursory calmness of ritual ablutions. These balnearies are sun-soaked, sedate spaces, conserved in a cultural consciousness for their therapeutic capacities. Yamashita’s basins are shone through with summer’s floating sense of relief. Returns to childhood. Catching fireflies in the garden. Her paintings are soaked in the lave of the subconscious, a kind of thermal satori.
Hiroka Yamashita (born in 1991 in Hyogo, Japan) lives and works in Okayama, Japan. She received her MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Solo exhibitions include ‘Cosmos Remembered’ at The Club, Tokyo in 2021; Tanya Leighton, Berlin and ‘融 toru’ at Higashiyama Bldg. 301, Okayama in 2019.
Her work has been included in group exhibitions such as ‘Daichi Takagi, Lucía Vidales, Hiroka Yamashita’ at Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo in 2020, and ‘Like a Day’, 21 Ludlow Street, New York in 2019, among others. Upcoming exhibitions in 2021 include ‘project N 84’ at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, and ‘Dancing in the Dark’ at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London.
Yamashita will have a solo exhibition at Tanya Leighton, Berlin in Spring 2022.