Coconut Heads in the Museums

Each painting from this series depicts a continuous line that is made up by visually connecting a group of artworks from each museum’s collection. The connections between the included artworks are based on shape associations—I paint an artwork on the canvas and then find another artwork that has a similar shape or element that is usually seen with it — similar to word association games.

The idea behind this series comes from my experience of visiting contemporary art exhibitions at museums in New York City with my mother while she was visiting me from Japan. Because of the language barrier and her lack of experience of being exposed to foreign cultures, she had difficulties in appreciating the artworks in a "traditional way”, which requires us to understand the context behind the artwork as the clue to sympathize with it. However, she enjoyed the visit as she picked up on some visual information that was familiar to her, such as a woman’s fashion in a painting, movie star portraits or daily commodities.

This experience motivated me to experimentally create stories that can be understood only with the visual information that the artworks provide. By incorporating a word association game-like system, which removes the context from the artworks in those museums, these lose their original meaning and work only as visual elements to continue meaningless narratives.

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1) Coconut Heads in MoMA, 2017, 50x76inch 130.3x194cm, oil on canvas
2) Coconut Heads in Guggenheim Museum, 2017, 50x76inch 130.3x194cm, oil on canvas

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3) Coconut Heads in Metropolitan Museum, 2017, 52x76inch 135.3x194cm, oil on canvas
4) Coconut Heads in Whitney Museum, 2017, 50x76inch 130.3x194cm, oil on canvas

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5) Coconut Heads in Brooklyn Museum, 2017, 50x50inch, oil on canvas
6) Coconut Heads in New Museum, 2017, 50x50inch, oil on canvas


7) Coconut Heads in Jewish Museum, 2017, 50x50inch, oil on canvas