Taro Komiya 

Jan 26 (Fri.) - Feb 24 (Sat.), 2024

MAHO KUBOTA GALLERY is pleased to present ‘Virtual’, Taro Komiya’s first solo exhibition at our gallery, starting 26 January. Based in Yamanaka Suplex, a collaborative studio on the border between Shiga and Kyoto, Komiya has exhibited installations, sculptures and paintings in Japan and abroad. In this exhibition, four installations will be shown alongside smaller works.

The exhibition title ‘Virtual’ is probably familiar to us as the katakana word virtual. As the words ‘virtual assistant’, ‘VR’ and ‘V-tuber’ suggest, it is widely recognised as meaning ‘virtual’ or ‘false image’, in which something that does not physically exist is made to seem as if it were real. On the other hand, the English language also has the opposite meaning of ‘actual’ and ‘virtual’, which includes nuances such as ‘(although different in reality) it is almost identical to itself, so that it virtually fulfils its function’.

One of the four installation works on display is Komiya’s signature work, a door. In this work, a space where no door actually exists is covered with layers of masking tape in various colours, creating two-dimensional shadows that, at first glance, appear as if a door exists there.
Also on show is a plant-based sculpture from the series ‘Rotating / or Vibrating Objects’, which Komiya has produced repeatedly in the past. This series of works is based on the theme of cognitive bugs, in which the movement of an object rotating or vibrating at high speed is difficult to actually capture with the eye.

In the centre of the exhibition space is a half-mirror installation that can be seen as the starting point for this exploration of the relationship between the act of looking and cognition. Within the semi-transparent mirror sculpture, there is an empty space where nothing actually exists, and beyond it, the mirrored space seems to go on and on. The installation is a simultaneous view of an actually existing space and an imaginary image.

Through these works, Komiya has focused on the nature of seeing. When people look at something, they unknowingly delete unnecessary information from what is actually in their field of vision, or supplement it with information that does not originally exist. Take the example of the work on the door: in the gallery, where the work is meant to be viewed, people are not aware of the position of the door or window, and if a door suddenly appeared one day, they would recognise it as originally there. And although there is actually only masking tape on the wall, people recognise it as a door and can feel the presence of another space beyond the door. At such times, the door may exist as a virtual door, beyond its superficial image as a virtual (false image). Komiya’s works are not only visible installations or sculptures, but also work on the viewer’s imagination and bring images to the surface of our individual consciousness. This exhibition brings to light the phases of the virtual world that gently overlap with the virtual (imaginary) images that emerge in people’s consciousness.