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The Second Stage at GG #53

Koichi Mitsuoka Exhibition: “Above and Beyond Absolute: 120%”

  • DATES : Tue. February 7 - Sat. March 18, 2023
  • HOURS : 11:00a.m.-7:00p.m.
  • Closed Sundays and holidays. Admission free.

    On entering the gallery, all visitors are requested to submit to a temperature check, sanitize their hands, wear a face mask, and maintain a social distance of 2 meters. Persons with any of the following symptoms are requested to refrain from visiting: fever (above 37.5℃), cough, sore throat, general fatigue, etc. The number of visitors allowed at one time may be limited to prevent overcrowding

The 53rd exhibition in “The Second Stage at GG” series will be “butchigiri no zettei 120%” (Above and Beyond Absolute: 120%) featuring works by Koichi Mitsuoka. This series spotlights artists who were finalists in the various open competitions held by Guardian Garden to support aspiring young talents. “The Second Stage at GG” exhibitions provide a look at what those promising artists have subsequently accomplished in their chosen fields.

Through the years, Koichi Mitsuoka has created works based on research-oriented projects, using various media including installations, performance, photography and drawings. Mitsuoka was a finalist in the 13th and 14th “1_WALL” Photography Exhibitions (2015, 2016), selected for his portraits of close friends. He subsequently added scale to the people and objects involved in his projects, maintaining a vigorous schedule of activities including both solo and group exhibitions and participation in arts festivals.

In “yume o minai yoru” (dreamless nights), Mitsuoka focused on events headed for obliteration in society: he documented how he had taken a broken cart on the verge of being taken away from its homeless owner, repaired it, and returned it to its owner, making a display of what would have otherwise gone unnoticed. In “moshi mo to itsu mo” (if and always), Mitsuoka took groundwater beneath the exhibition site in Shibuya and directed it into the venue, creating a drawing from mud on a photo; while evoking the special nature of the exhibition space, he simultaneously exposed the structure of the Shibuya area. The work garnered an Excellence Award at Canon’s New Cosmos of Photography 2021. All of Mitsuoka’s works are packed with his unique humor; they reveal the fun he has with chance encounters and the special nature of different things and places, and demonstrate his enjoyment at employing his imaginative powers.

The title of Mitsuoka’s exhibition – “butchigiri no zettei 120%” (Above and Beyond Absolute: 120%) – was taken from a passage in a notebook he found while straightening up a warehouse where he was working a part-time job. That he used someone else’s words as his exhibition title again shows Mitsuoka’s creative stance, how he actively infuses his works with things and people he encounters by happenstance. In this exhibition, Mitsuoka will show a new installation using the venue, Guardian Garden, as his keyword. Visitors will surely enjoy seeing what Koichi Mitsuoka will create in the space of Guardian Garden, scheduled to close in August 2023 after 22 years of existence below ground in Ginza.

Message from the Artist

I often wonder about printed discount coupons that have passed their expiry date. I almost never see any these days, but occasionally they’re practically forced upon me at a drugstore or ramen shop. I somehow don’t have the courage to just throw them in the box for unwanted receipts sitting on the counter while the shop staff is looking on, so I take them home – though I’ve never used them and they just reach their date of expiration hidden in the deep folds of my wallet. At that point they’ve become scraps of paper no longer serving any purpose, so the only thing to do is to throw them away. But when I do, I always feels slight pangs of guilt toward the coupons (though I never remember them when I go to pay). So I began thinking whether there isn’t something I might make from my coupons. I gathered up all the coupons I could find around the house, and discovered some as old as two years past their expiry date. That’s where my collaboration with coupons began. While probing my relationship with things like this that stick in my mind, at times they become transformed into one of my works. It might be a person, or a plant, the wind or a stone, or maybe history or some scene, anything. Coupons don’t have anything to do with this exhibition, though. Sorry.



“yume o minai yoru” (dreamless nights) (2013)

“moshi mo to itsu mo” (if and always) (2021, BLOCK HOUSE, Harajuku / Planning: Yoshidayamar)

“atchi to kotchi” (here and there) (2019, Flesh, Gaienmae / Planning: Flesh)

“erabanakatta michi” (the path not taken) (2021, Hotel New Akao, Atami)

“tsuutatsu” (notification) (2021, Sumida Park, Tokyo / Photo: Takafumi Sakanaka)

“deguchi wa tsukureru” (exits can be made) (2018, Nara Prefectural University, Nara)

Koichi Mitsuoka

Born in 1990. Completed the Graduate School program of Tokyo University of the Arts.

Organizer: Guardian Garden