ONLINE EXHIBITION

除災招福 JO SAI SHO FUKU
(WARD OFF CALAMITIES, INVITE GOOD LUCK):
GODS AND YOKAI IN TIME OF PANDEMIC

YUKO MURAKOSHI

murakoshi_amabie.jpg

Amabie, 2020
Mineral pigment, gold leaf on Japanese paper, mounted on wood panel
8.86 x 4.7 x 0.2 inches (22.5 x 12 x 0.5 cm)

FROM THE ARTIST:
 

In recent years, we have found many old documents on Amabie, a yokai who appears from the sea and predicts good harvest and pandemics. Amabie’s appearance was documented all across Japan, while most supernatural prophets were only local. People were desperate and needed Amabie to guard against a bad crop or pandemic which could destroy an entire village. Things haven’t changed much since, even in current times where we have artificial intelligence and all. We are yet again attacked by a mysterious virus.

My Amabie is inspired by Yaobikuni, a nun from Japanese folklore who ate the flesh of a mermaid and lived for eight hundred years. My Amabie is accompanied by Ryugunotsukai (Oarfish), also known as “the Messenger from the Sea Dragon’s palace.” It is unknown how this calamity will change the world and the way we live. All I can do is to keep my spirits high and continue painting. 

murakoshi_anima.jpg

Strange Animal – An Encounter, 2020
Mineral pigment, gold leaf, gold paint on Japanese paper, mounted on wood panel
8.86 x 4.7 x 0.2 inches (22.5 x 12 x 0.5 cm)

FROM THE ARTIST:
 

This is a recreation of a painting of a mysterious animal from the Edo Period, titled A Painting of Strange Animal. It is not known if the original painting was created by a person who actually saw the animal. Still, it was accompanied by texts detailing it's size, fur, facial expression, etc. It says the animal was about 30 centimeters in size, heavier than it appears, which gives credibility of its existence. I would gasp in terror if I encountered this animal in the twilight, when night is about to fall. At the time this animal was documented, people were living surrounded by nature and the night was pitch dark. It may not be so strange to meet mysterious animals in such world. We no longer have such dark night, with every corner lit in the middle of the night. Instead, each of us may have dark, enigmatic areas of uncertainty within ourselves. That’s what was in my thoughts when I was painting this piece.