Monnaie de Paris
October 19 - 22, 2023
For its new participation to Asia Now, Perrotin is delighted to present a solo presentation of ob, a Japanese artist and member of the Kaikai Kiki studio.
Gathering 8 new pieces, the display will show six new paintings and two drawings.
Following her solo exhibitions at Perrotin New York in 2021 and Perrotin Seoul in 2022, this new series continues to explore girlhood in Japan with a delicate palette of pastel tones and atmospheric composition.
ob is known for her signature girls with large eyes, “like a tunnel, or the moon, symbolizing death and rebirth” (1) and no mouth. These characters are different versions of herself and her friends but are not entirely self-portraits. As she says: “I don’t consider them self-portraits. I believe that the characters themselves are like vessels or dolls in which the imagination of the viewer is reflected”. (2)
ob is inviting us to her dream world. Her works are imagined scenery where girls she depicts seem isolated from the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the narrative is very strong in ob’s paintings, giving the impression that the main story is beyond the painting’s frame. Inspired from video games since her debut, the artist explains “I was very consciously incorporating stories into my works, which I thought of as a series. I like video games, so the narrative aspect came naturally.” (3)
The depiction of animals in ob’s works explores a world of coexistence instead of a human-centered one, based on her childhood experience. The new works are inspired by the lives of animals and people she met during her travels. Female characters depicted by ob seem always to refer to adolescence; that thematic is constantly questioned by the artist and these new works challenge again our perception of this age. As she says: “Through the years I painted the uncertain self of adolescence, I have now shifted towards exploring universal consciousness, such as a vessel that connects to the hearts of every person.” (4)
(1) Patrick McGraw, “ob’s paintings blue the boundaries between the inner and the real self” in Highsnobiety, December 3, 2021
(2) Irene de Vette, “5 Minutes With... Japanese Artist ob” in American Express Essentials, November 2021
(3) ob, Melting Flower Flows Away, Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd, 2013
(4) Irene de Vette, “5 Minutes With... Japanese Artist ob” in American Express Essentials, November 2021
Born in Kagoshima, Japan
Lives and works in Saitama, Japan
Born in 1992, ob is the most important of the many artists who emerged as part of Japan’s SNS generation in 2010. As a university student in Kyoto, she organized and curated several local exhibitions after reaching out to other artists her age through the illustration communication service pixiv. This culminated in the exhibition “wassyoi” for which she received much attention and acclaim. The name “wassyoi” itself stems from the chant used by revelers in Japanese street festivals. As part of the new generation of artists who grew up in an environment where video games and social media have always been part of daily life, she explores the dreamy filter of the feminine psyche through the recurring motif of a wide-eyed young girl in her delicate, atmospheric paintings. ob collaborated with renowned cosmetics line shu uemura in 2013 and has been featured numerous times in art fairs overseas.