The show marks the first solo exhibition in Hong Kong by the Japanese artist Yuichi Higashionna, featuring seven new works since 2008. Intrigued by the 'uncanny' feeling he gets from the everyday life and the dominant and ubiquitous 'fluorescent lamp culture' in Japan, Higashionna creates monster-like light sculptures from the Japanese circular fluorescent light tubes that are mesmerizing at first glance yet arouse a sense of awkwardness and distress when being viewed and stared repeatedly for a prolonged period of time. The dichotomy between the surreal and the uncomfortable forces the audience to explicitly confront the ‘unexplainable’ in our daily lives.
For the Hong Kong show, Higashionna turns the otherwise humble-size ground floor space into a grand galore filled with hybrid blends of satisfying cheap plastic, rubber, light tubes, or as the artist described, ‘fanshii objects’. Two meticulously made 'light monsters' chandeliers are shown hovering at the front window display and in the back gallery respectively; one beaming in nude and stripped off of every bit of reticence to the passer-bys outside, while the other, a stunning counterpart, dons a glamorous yet satirical black amphibian-like outer skin. The position of the two bi-polar charged works creates a temporal spatial void that enables the viewers to temporarily submerge themselves into other more subtle and geometric works strategically placed around the gallery space, including the linear stripe-driven Untitled (FL.30-24) (2008), and the cross hatched mini Elastic Installation (2010) made with rubber band.
Since Higashionna has exhibited his works mainly in Japan, the United States, and Europe previously, this physically petite but visually filling exhibition offers the Hong Kong audience a rare and modest glimpse into the artist’s ten- year plus continuous artistic practice that, in today's age, has proved itself to be not only a critique of the 'fluorescent lamp culture' in Japan, but, on a much greater scale, of the whole energy consumption culture in Asia.
(All Images Courtesy of Gallery EXIT and the artist)