Kei Imazu (b. 1980) is a painter based in Tokyo, Japan who interlaces past, present, and future through a comprehensive act of excavating images taken from the vast sea that is the internet—often times historical relics and artifacts, and other times more contemporary cultural iconographies—alongside everyday objects and occurrences. The word excavating here is crucial. In many ways, Imazu paints with the mentality of an archeologist. She navigates and unearths historical relics that have been destroyed in war or pilfered by treasure hunters that are now kept existent only within the ethereal realms of cyberspace. Imazu digs through literature, philosophy, and poetry derived from different cultures as a demarcating point to begin her work. Layer by layer, she simultaneously conducts acts of pictorial construction and deconstruction, representation and abstraction, and in doing so develops ocular operas that reveal the esoteric in the human condition.
ROH Projects is pleased to present Overgrown, where Imazu shows new works conducted throughout her OPQRSTUDIO residency in Bandung for a durational residency in which she makes new strides in both conceptual and compositional dimensions of her practice. There is no way of knowing what discoveries she has yet to make, but the time spent with ROH and our artists has been truly remarkable.
Kei Imazu utilizes this everyday contemporary internet environment in collecting all sorts of artworks and objects that exist in and beyond the form of an image. After thoroughly going through her great volume of collected data, she distorts, reconstructs, and sketches them on the computer. With the sketch she has created, Imazu traces it onto the canvas using oil paint, a method she currently employs to create her artworks.
Through this contemporary method, she turns the original flat/three-dimensional works and objects into a display of a two-dimensional perception. This two-dimensionality is accented by the contrasting images of three-dimensional objects that she digitally distorts with twists and pulls, which she then pastes onto her sketches. In this process of reconstructing, she challenges the boundaries of virtual/real and the concepts of two-dimensional/three-dimensional by applying objects from the Internet, catalogs, real life, and so on. Additionally, she recaptures one point perspectives and overlapping objects by presenting them in a flat and planar manner, resulting in a peculiar sense of depth. Simultaneously, she rearranges the object’s original context that develops into a unique painting.
Born 1980, Yamaguchi, Japan
Lives and works in Bandung, Indonesia
Kei Imazu utilizes everyday contemporary internet environment in collecting all sorts of artworks and objects that exist in and beyond the form of an image. After thoroughly going through her great volume of collected data, she distorts, reconstructs, and sketches them digitally. With the sketch she has created, Imazu traces it onto the canvas using oil paint, a method she currently employs to create her artworks.
Imazu has several solo exhibitions including Sowed Them to the Earth at Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, USA (2023); Mapping the Land/Body/Stories of its Past at ANOMALY, Tokyo, Japan (2021); Anda disini / You are here, Museum Haus Kasuya, Kanagawa, Japan (2019); Measuring Invisible Distance,Yamamoto Gendai, Tokyo, Japan (2018); and Overgrown, ROH Projects,Jakarta, Indonesia (2018). Her group exhibitions include Frieze Seoul, COEX Mall, Seoul, South Korea (2022); WAGIWAGI at documenta fifteen,Hübnerareal, Kassel, Germany (2022); Declaring Distance: Bandung — Leiden, Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung, Indonesia (2022); AAAAHHH!!! Paris Internationale, Paris, France (2018) – all featuring her collaborative work with Bagus Pandega; 1, ROH, Jakarta, Indonesia (2022); We Paint!, Palais de Beaux-Arts, Paris, France (2022); Last Words, ROH, Jakarta, Indonesia (2021); We Are Here, Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, USA (2021); Tiger Orchid, Art Basel OVR: Miami Beach (2020); Roppongi Crossing: Connexion, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2019); Meet the Collection - 30th Anniversary of the Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama Museum of Art, Kanagawa, Japan (2019), and Taming Y/Our Passion, Aichi Triennale, Nagoya, Japan (2019), among others. Kei Imazu is the finalist of Prix Jean-François Prat in 2020.View Artist
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Courtesy of The Artist and ROH