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Review of the exhibition at Yutaka Kikutake Gallery, “In Need of a Nail

Installation View, Nerhol ‘For want of a nail’, 2019 ©️Nerhol Photo: Shintaro Yamanaka (Qsyum!) Courtesy of Yutaka Kikutake Gallery From June 6 to July 13, Yutaka Kikutake Gallery will present “For want of a nail,” an exhibition of works by the artist duo Nerhol. Nell Hall is an artist duo consisting of two young Japanese artists, Yoshihisa Tanaka and Ryuta Iida, which started in 2007 when Tanaka and Iida had a discussion about how to raise and share the issues of contemporary society. It started in 2007 when Tanaka and Iida had a discussion about how to raise and share contemporary social issues. This year’s exhibition at the Yutaka Kikutake Gallery will feature works inspired by the city of Beppu in Oita Prefecture. Last summer, Nell Hall participated in the “KASHIMA” residency program in Beppu. In this program, she researched the history of Beppu, one of the most famous hot spring resorts in Japan, and its history from the early Meiji period to World War I and World War II. Nell Hall’s research ranged from oral histories of the people living in Beppu, to the local resources and natural environment of the hot springs, to the cultural aspects that have developed along with the history. The results of his research were displayed as 13 artworks on the walls of the Aoi House, Beppu Park, and commercial facilities where he stayed during his stay. In this exhibition at the Yutaka Kikutake Gallery in Tokyo, we will also present new works that were conceived as a project for Tokyo as mentioned above. The new works are also based on the research conducted in the residency. Installation View, Nerhol ‘For want of a nail’, 2019 ©️Nerhol Photo: Shintaro Yamanaka (Qsyum!) Courtesy of Yutaka Kikutake Gallery The interesting thing about their works is that each of them has its own story. For example, “Portrait of Mr. Kim” was inspired by a conversation I had with a local man, Mr. Kim. The story behind “Portrait of Mr. Kim” goes as follows. Nehru had been told stories about people who fought as soldiers in the Korean War and opened Korean BBQ restaurants after returning home, and stories about the lives of Koreans living in Japan who immigrated to Japan after World War II. This work was born from listening to the stories of Korean immigrants in Japan who have now become locals, giving us a sense of the history and lives of people from various backgrounds. Installation View, Nerhol ‘For want of a nail’, 2019 ©️Nerhol Photo: Shintaro Yamanaka (Qsyum!) Courtesy of Yutaka Kikutake Gallery Wild Guppy” and “Metronome” were inspired by the stories and experiences of the animals of Beppu. When Nerhol heard that the rivers of Beppu were inhabited by tropical fish, he tried to look for guppies in the lower reaches of the Sakai River and found them. Even though guppies are native to South America, they had become a local fish. The guppies had adapted to the changing environment and had become more like killifish in appearance, but they still had the brightly colored bellies that are characteristic of tropical fish. In addition, through “Metronome,” Nehru combines personal experiences and memories about local animals. when I went to see wild monkeys in Takasaki Mountain, home to more than 1,200 monkeys, I saw parent monkeys carrying and cuddling their young for weeks after they died. This behavior is called “accepting the situation. This behavior was due to their inability to accept the situation. On the way home, Nehru listened to the quiet sound of the metronome, set to the same rhythm as the monkey’s heartbeat, as he recalled the monkey’s behavior. Installation View, Nerhol ‘For want of a nail’, 2019 ©️Nerhol Photo: Shintaro Yamanaka (Qsyum!) Courtesy of Yutaka Kikutake Gallery The narratives hidden in his works make us think about life and death, identity, adaptation to environmental changes, and pose the question, “What is originality? Nehru has focused on each of these motifs, asking questions from subjects that are often overlooked, such as community, nature, animals, and people. His sculptures and layered prints, as well as his narratives, take us on a visual journey, and Yutaka Kikutake Gallery has been representing Nell Hall’s exhibitions since 2016’s Strange Attractor. Nell Hall’s works using each of these motifs are based on inventive experience and research, and are expected to be shown at Yutaka Kikutake Gallery in the future. We hope to see more of his work at the gallery in the future.

Article written by: Jeongeun Jo Born in Korea, lives in Japan. One of the members of TRiCERA, she graduated from the Graduate School of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts. She is also active as an artist.

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