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Ogaki Mihoko



Born in 1973 in Toyama Japan, and now lives in Ibaraki.
Moved to Germany in 1995 and studied sculpture at Kunstakademie Dusseldorf.
Returned to Japan in 2010.
WHO 007
A5・96 pages
(Japanese & English)

A hearse which is knitted out of beads, numerous white dots spotted with a needle on a black canvas, an infinite number of lights emitted through a human figure. Mihoko Ogaki's art becomes evident when an infinite number of lights,
holes, and points are collected. As Ogaki shares, we can expand our fantasy towards death as much as we want to because it is something that no one has ever experienced.  We see her egoistic side towards death hidden in-between her grand and dramatic visual.

Ogaki:German contemporary art is much stricter and filled with more logic so I was confused at first. When I create art, I usually create an image first before thinking logically. This is unusual in Germany so everyone looked at me differently.

Naito:You have to be different. With art, when it is mind-blowingly absurd, it destroys the completely sensible and creates a new common sense. You stormed to Germany from Toyama and dismantled a Mercedes-Benz and talked about life and death. That is amazing.

Ogaki:It took me three years to finish the hearse. My head was going at full speed. I was using people and was creating sculptures. Although the theme was death, I have never felt so alive in my life.

Naito:When you are alive, you cannot see death, but when you look at life from death's perspective, it is easy to understand its real meaning. I think ideas that come out from human bodies are amazing. When you push your body to its limit, your brain starts to function. Then, ideas continue to flow freely and a world that is beyond your imagination appears before you.

Ogaki:When I created the hearse, my body understood what art was, not by its logic or how beautiful it was, but from the temperature. That is what I aim for in my art, the temperature. For this reason, I believe in sculptures. Just leaving them on the ground, they pressurize space or give it a special aura. Even though it was made by a small person like me, the art becomes larger than me.

Naito:An extremely well made art becomes larger than its creator. So, you embedded lights in the black human sculpture. That really expanded the space. The sculptures from the "Milky Way" series, lights are emitted through the infinite numbers of pinholes on the body which is projected on the ceiling and the wall forming a starlit sky. That is like a "reverse planetarium" in which the grand universe is capsulated into a human body.
You can not see the light that is emitted to the air from the black sculpture, but for example, if you smoke around the area, you would see it. When you imagine the infinite number of lights being emitted from the human body, you feel the limitless universe. Even with the hearse and stroller, there is a video and sound system embedded inside. Unicellular organisms just need to undergo cellular divisions to multiply but with human beings, death is imprinted in our DNA. No matter how long we live, we cannot live for hundreds of years. Since the day we are born, we are moving towards death. What lies underneath your art are themes like universe and life forms, life and death.

(Ogaki Mihoko and Naito Masatoshi/from WHO 007)

"I produce artwork which shows how negative concepts, like death or aging, are changed into a more dramatic or romantic energy, not through religion or philosophy, but through a category like ART."

"I've always been brought up like a little girl. As I became an adult, all these various, non-conforming elements like David Lynch's films, things that make you think what are all these, all come together to form me. But, I'm still that same little girl who likes fairy tales. Having a soft spot for glittery things, acquiring things you can only dream of through imagination-something that is impossible to do in the real world, I always long for a happy ending."

(from WHO 007)

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Shuji Sugihara
1976, Born in Kanagawa Japan.
WHO chief editor/art director