in Tokyo / Japan
28.06.2024 - 27.07.2024 00:00
Koji Yamaguchi + Ayatake Ezaki - Reflection / Reverb

Maho Kubota Gallery will hold an exhibition titled “Reflection / Reverb” by artists Koji Yamaguchi + Ayatake Ezaki with Kensuke Yamamoto (SML) as guest curator. Ayatake Ezaki, inspired by the ethereal light captured in Koji Yamaguchi’s paintings, has created music for each of the works and the result is an installation in which the painting and the music form a single work. In the gallery, the canvases and their accompanying musical scores are hung side by side, and a self-playing piano plays the music.

The following comments are by curator Kensuke Yamamoto:

I had always thought that the two artists’ worldviews were in sync, and in fact Ayatake (Ezaki) had once approached me to see if Yamaguchi could do the artwork for one of his albums. However, the timing was not right, and it did not come to fruition. Then, when we went to Yamaguchi’s solo show last year and saw his paintings, Ayatake was struck once again by Yamaguchi’s work, saying “Rather than getting him to design my album jacket, what I really want to do is to create music for these paintings.” Those words made an impression on me, so when Maho Kubota Gallery invited me to curate a show, I decided to try applying that approach to produce an installation in the gallery space. This exhibition is the result.

The title “Reflection / Reverb” came to us organically while we were all talking, and conveys the concept behind the work, of Ayatake Ezaki’s music resonating with Koji Yamaguchi’s paintings which are like reflections of light in each scene. The word “reflection” can also be interpreted as symbolizing Yamaguchi’s paintings, while the word “reverb” represents the reaction, which is Ayatake’s music. The words also seem to describe each work responding to and resonating with each other.

Although there are probably many examples in the history of music based on a painting, I have never come across an exhibition with the concept of producing music for each work in a series of paintings, like a soundtrack. I am quietly excited to be involved in a project that showcases these two individuals who I have always respected as creators. In Gaiennmae in early summer, I look forward to offering visitors the experience of being in a space brimming with the world woven by these two creators.

Koji Yamaguchi
Born in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Strongly influenced by the flexible approach of skateboarding, where the streets are the playground, Yamaguchi uses a range of different techniques including painting, drawing, and collage to transform everyday scenes and familiar objects by applying his unique perspective. His major solo exhibitions include Koji Yamaguchi at T&Y Projects (Tokyo, 2023), “Chiisana Hikari” (Small Light) at NDK Recycle Factory (Kanagawa, 2022), “Shizukana Jikan” (Quiet Time) at Gallery Trax (Yamanashi, 2020), and “CITYSCAPE” at Nepenthes NY (New York, 2018). Yamaguchi’s first monograph, “Days”, was published by Bijutsu Shuppansha in 2023.

Ayatake Ezaki
Musician. Born 1992 in Fukuoka City. Started learning piano at age four and composition from age seven. Graduated from the Faculty of Music, Tokyo University of the Arts, and completed a master’s program at the University of Tokyo Graduate School. Ayatake is the keyboardist of “WONK” and has been involved in recording and producing works by countless artists including King Gnu, Vaundy and Kenshi Yonezu. In a career in which he effortlessly straddles multiple genres, Ayatake also produced background music for the movie “Homunculus” (2021) and for “The Story of Kintaro Hattori” (TV Asahi Drama Premium), runs a music label, and is involved in arts education.

Kensuke Yamamoto
After working at advertising agencies followed by a stint as editor of GQ, Yamamoto established “Sumally” in 2010, going on to develop Sumally Pocket, a storage service for physical items managed from a smartphone app. He stepped down as CEO of the company in October last year, remaining as its adviser. He then re-launched SML as his own company, and is involved in a range of different art, food and fashion-related projects. In April 2024, he opened a crepe café, ØC tokyo, in Yoyogi Uehara.

Gallery hours Tue-Sat 12:00 – 19:00, closed Sun, Mon and National Holidays

Exhibition Duration 28.06. – 27.07.2024


Maho Kubota Gallery
2-4-7 Jingumae Shibuya-ku
150-0001 Tokyo


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