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Daijiro Ohara & Yoshihisa Tanaka Joint Exhibition

Ohara’s Physicality, Tanaka’s Bionomics

  • DATES : Fri, January 11 – Thu, February 14, 2019
  • HOURS : 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Closed Sundays and holidays. Admission free.

Daijiro Ohara performs commissioned work in music-related design and advertising, with handwritten lettering and other typography at the core of his artistic expression. Meanwhile, from a unique stance he independently undertakes projects that search for new perceptions of words and letters: creating typography configured from mobiles, artwork that probes the original forms of lettering within dialogues with nature, etc.

Yoshihisa Tanaka designs books for both Japanese and foreign artists, creates visual identity (VI) plans for art museums and commercial galleries, and performs art direction for art fairs and exhibitions. He is also half of the artist duo Nerhol and joint owner of a publishing firm and gallery space. Here, he personally takes part in project conception, planning and operation.

Though their fields of activity differ, Ohara and Tanaka have both forged careers as designers of the same generation, each deepening his mode of expression and methodology within his individual context. For this joint exhibition, they each seek to decipher the other’s essence of design. By studying one another, they dissect their respective targets from different approaches: one physical, the other bionomical. This exhibition shows the fruits and processes born from their investigations. What is the true nature of each’s design work revealed by this undertaking?

We invite visitors to come and discover for themselves the answers Ohara and Tanaka offer us.

Daijiro Ohara
1 Ryosen (Geographical Lines) Photographs: Takashi Homma
2 Kyokusen (Song Lines), idea No.372 Photograph: Taro Hirano
3 Moji to monyo (Text and Texture: Lines) Photograph: Manami Takahashi
4 Mojibake (Garbled Characters) Photographs: Isao Negishi

Yoshihisa Tanaka
5 Nerhol Promenade, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa Photograph: Shintaro Yamanaka (Qsyum!)
6 Transboundary Design – Perspective of Yoshihisa Tanaka, idea No.381
7 POST (bookshop) website
8 Visual identity (VI), Tokyo Photographic Art Museum Photograph: Shintaro Yamanaka (Qsyum!)

Daijiro Ohara

Born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1978. Ohara undertakes numerous projects searching for new perceptions of words and letters through graphic design, exhibitions, workshops, etc. His recent projects include: “Mojyuryoku” (Letter-Gravity), mobile typography on the theme of gravity; Ryosen (Geographical Lines), a series of graphics incorporating reconstructed trekking maps and mountain photography by Takashi Homma; “TypogRAPy,” performances with musician Shuta Hasunuma and rapper Illreme; and “NEW co.,” live print and drawing sessions with Masatomo Yoshizawa (YOUR SONG IS GOOD). Ohara is the recipient of a JAGDA New Designer Award and Tokyo TDC Award. oharadaijiro.com

Yoshihisa Tanaka

Born in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, in 1980. Tanaka’s recent work includes: visual identity (VI) planning for Tokyo Photographic Art Museum and other cultural facilities; joint ownership of the POST bookshop and CASE publishing firm; and art direction of Tokyo Art Book Fair, “Anish Kapoor in Beppu,” Takeo Paper Show, etc. Tanaka is also active in the artist unit Nerhol, together with sculptor Ryuta Iida. Their major solo exhibitions include “Index” at Foam Photography Museum (Netherlands), “Nerhol Promenade” at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, and “Interview, Portrait, House and Room” at Youngeun Museum of Contemporary Art (Korea). nerhol.com

Opening Party
Fri, January 11, 2019 7:00 p.m.– 8:30 p.m.
Admission free. No reservations required.
All visitors are invited to attend.


Ohara’s Physicality, Tanaka’s Bionomics: What Their Design Work is All About

Daijiro Ohara depicts the bionomics of books designed by Yoshihisa Tanaka: their cover, spine, fore-edge, body, weight, texture, space in which they are placed, and overall appearance. He continuously observes the book’s portraits and the environment in which it was produced—its publisher, the printing company, etc.—and, in progressive form, lays open his research process for all to see.

Yoshihisa Tanaka, on his part, gathers together Daijiro Ohara’s actions. He extracts materials collected at the places where Ohara has resided—in Yamagata, Tokushima and Hayama, for example; examines the physicality found within his actions; and transforms them, consolidating them on paper. Employing techniques and effects of handmade papermaking—such as marbling and water dropping (rakusui)—Tanaka creates washi paper integrating diverse hues and textures and filled with physical traces. In them, we find visual principles different from lettering and images, causing us to foresee new bionomical systems.