Hiroko Kubo: Street Amulets
March 18 to April 22, 2023
Location: 3317 West 4th Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76107
Blind Alley projects is pleased to present “Hiroko Kubo: Street Amulets” which opens March 18, 2023. In hopes of favorable weather conditions for an outdoor gathering at the project space, the opening reception has been delayed until Saturday March 25, 2 to 5pm. It is with great pleasure that we bring these intimate, nature-inspired, and meticulously rendered works to Blind Alley projects, sharing them with the DFW art community, the surrounding neighborhood and all who are interested in Kubo’s small-scale sculptures which confidently hold their own in the interior space of Blind Alley projects.
As stated on the website of the artist’s Tokyo gallery, LOKO Gallery www.lokogallery.com/en/archives/exhibitions/hiroko-kubo-isaac:
Applying traces of folk art, prehistoric art and theories of cultural anthropology as pointers, Kubo composes her interests in agriculture and idols in the form of sculpture in a unique way. Her works and practices are not limited to human privilege or fixed frameworks of modern thoughts and representations, it also puts non-humans in perspective.
Kubo’s artist statement, also on LOKO Gallery’s website and only partially represented here, gives a personal as well as universally connected perspective that seems to shed particular light on the works installed in Blind Alley projects’ “Hiroko Kubo: Street Amulets.”
In January 2018, my son was born. In January 2020, a virus began to spread throughout Japan. In February 2022, a war started in a neighboring country. Facets of my life and society have changed dramatically just in the past few years.
Whereas a child’s day to day is full of possibilities and can accomplish today what was not possible yesterday, It feels as though society is moving in the opposite direction.
A pandemic, wars, climate change, inequality – and all the theories (accelerationism, degrowth, technology, posthumanism, etc.) that would seem to have the answers to the anxieties that appear before us, offer no bright prospects for the future. To quote the author of “The Complete History of Sapiens”, Yuval Noah Harari: “We should never underestimate human stupidity.” Evidently, the era of homo-sapiens, with a history of 200,000 years is coming to an end and that end is closer than we can imagine.
Standing on the edge of despair and looking ahead, what do we see and do from here? Faced with this grand question, I think about what I could do, and my answer remains the same. It is to represent the era that we live in, with materials that are available now – in sculpture, the practice that I’ve followed through the years. This is because I, myself have been inspired by the sculptures of our predecessors who have taught the mysteries of being born and to live as a human being.
I refer to artifacts displayed in museums of history and archaeological sites as models for my own work. Seeing that it’s impossible to measure the value of thousands or even tens of thousands of years when they were created, there are still moments when these “things” transcend time and space to convey something to us without fail. As it is believed in Christianity that “In the beginning was the Logos(word),” I believe in what the ethno-arts scholar Shigenobu Kimura advocates: “In the beginning was the image.”
Sculptures, like people, have volume, exist in the same physical space, and will weather and break down under the same physical conditions. This ephemerality and fragility is what I love about sculptures. At the same time, the fact that it has survived in the world for tens or hundreds of thousands of years by the will of our ancestors (sometimes by accident) shows the strength in this form and is one of the driving forces behind my continued work in sculpture.
… I hope that in the distant future, grand creations will stand the test of time to offer something to humanity and to the meaning of life (or to future hybrid-human?). It would be of great privilege to me if I could help in this regard, to stand with our homo-sapien predecessors who have bequeathed to the world such wonderful images. 2022
“Hiroko Kubo: Street Amulets” is well situated in the context of Blind Alley projects, a small, glass front gallery on a plot of land in a residential area in the cultural district of a centrally located city in a centrally located state in a country and on a continent many miles from its origins, as we share the artist’s universal concerns and interests in relation to art, history, environment, nature and culture.
Artist’s bio, excerpted from text by Noriko Yamakosh, independent curator and writer, for LOKO Gallery:
Hiroko Kubo (b 1987) graduated from Hiroshima City University and holds an MFA in Sculpture from Texas Christian University.
Growing up in the mountainous region of Hiroshima prefecture, Japan and currently living and working in Hiroshima City (1), Kubo had an opportunity to see from a far, her native land while completing her Master of Fine Arts degree in Texas. It was there in the hot and dry climate where minimal art can be found displayed in abundance, the polar opposite of all the familiarities of home. Realizing such contrast, Kubo strongly recognized that she, as a Japanese woman, is indeed a marginalized presence including the world of art, dominated primarily by white heterosexual men. Through her first-hand experience, Kubo observed the necessity in her praxis of dismantlement and reconstruction of the cultural representations that are formed within the context of specific historical perceptions and power structures through heterogeneous periods and historical concepts. Her practice revolves around re-imagining and visualizing other possible narratives incorporating these fragments.
Kubo’s early work Cultivated land (2013), created right after her experience in the U.S., where Christianity is strongly rooted, uses scrapped daily necessities and water to reflect the animistic idea that all things can be gods, contrary to monotheistic religion. In the following Urban Cultivator (2014), presented in Guangzhou, China, she zoned in on the imbalance brought about by rapid economic development between rural areas and large cities. With Muddy feet (2015) which was presented at the Setouchi Triennale in 2016, she explored the damages caused by wild animals in rural Japan, where the population is excessively declining….