ROH is pleased to present unearth, a solo exhibition of Kei Imazu’s (b. 1980, Yamaguchi, Japan), for the second time with the gallery since 2018. The exhibition also welcomes contributions by Carlos Quijon, Jr., an art historian, critic, and curator based in Manila, Philippines.
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As Quijon, Jr. describes in his essay, “One of the main thematic layers explored in the exhibition is the story of Hainuwele, a woman born from a coconut and who has the power to produce fineries of foreign lands through her own excrement. Men initially found her powers useful until its undeniable mystique disturbed them. Fazed by this mysterious woman and her power, they buried her alive, stomping on the ground until loose dirt became dense earth. Ameta, Hainuwele’s mother figure, learned about Hainuwele’s fate and found her dead body through an oracle. Ameta exhumed her remains, cut the body, and buried different parts of it across the village lands. Hainuwele’s remains transformed into tuberous crops, sustaining the village and the islands of Banda.
Imazu’s effort to reconsider the myth of Hainuwele constitutes a feminist exhumation not only of the mythical figure’s body, but her story as well. The artist mines stories that have been cultivated on this earth–a site of violence and loss, but also emergence and thriving life–to foreground poetics of transformation and metamorphosis. Layer upon layer, Imazu builds on a landscape where myth and history merge and become a method that assembles works and materials that are as varied as the contentious stories to which they allude.”
– Carlos Quijon, Jr.
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
Copyright belongs to The Artist
Text by Carlos Quijon, Jr.
Photography by The Artist
Courtesy of The Artist and ROH