KEN NAKAHASHI is pleased to present Shinji Ihara’s solo exhibition 1111, from October 27th, Friday to December 9th, Saturday, 2023. 

This show features Ihara’s new works, including Lay Flowers, a group of 22 paintings that he embarked on on November 11th, 2022, when his cat, with whom he had spent many years, died. 

The paintings depict flowers and catnips gently held by two hands, with precise brushstrokes as if the painter is placing fine jewels individually.  

Through painting, Ihara explores the self and others and human relationships in society. 

Influenced by his father, an art enthusiast, Ihara read many art books from a young age, and drawing has always been an integral part of his life. 

Around the 9th grade, an art teacher asked him, “Do you just want to be ordinary?” The teacher’s words urged Ihara to pursue art. 

During high school, he started to learn different art methodologies, including painting, design, pottery, and photography. 

He was particularly interested in art restoration, which requires adopting the knowledge gained from viewing art and painting techniques. He chose to study oil painting at the university to learn about classical painting methods and materials of Western art. 

Around age 20, an event led to his self-realization of a (sexual) minority identity. Painting gradually became a means to express his inner self. 

After graduate school, Ihara began traveling around the world during intervals between art making while based in Hiroshima and Tokyo.

In 2021, he presented Love Your Neighbor at the gallery— a group of installations consisting of drawings, cassettes, photos, and objects based on his journey to Antarctica and his encounter with the people. 

In recent years, Ihara has been undertaking various initiatives, including running the Hiroshima Drawing Lab (HDL), an artist-run space focused on drawing, established in Hiroshima in 2020.

It operates diversified, experimental creative programs, including artist-directed exhibitions, workshops, and lectures.

Shinji Ihara 

Born 1987 in Fukuoka. In 2012, he graduated with an M.F.A. in oil painting from Tokyo University of the Arts.

[Significant exhibitions]

  • 2021 Handsome Men They Are (The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama)
  • 2021 Love Your Neighbor (KEN NAKAHASHI, Tokyo)
  • 2020 SILVER LINING (Hiroshima Drawing Lab, Hiroshima)

[Public Collection]

  • Hiroshima City University Museum
  • Luciano Benetton Imago Mundi Collection

Shinji Ihara 1111

  • October 27 (Friday)–December 9 (Saturday), 2023
  • Tuesday–Saturday, 11:00-18:00
  • Closed on Sundays & Mondays
  • Reception in presence of artist: October 27 (Friday) 18:00-20:00
  • Opening Dates and Times during Art Week Tokyo: November 2 (Thursday)–5(Sunday) 10:00-18:00

PRESS RELEASE—September 26, 2023

HANDOUT—October 27, 2023

© Shinji Ihara "Lay Flowers 21" 2023, Oil on canvas mounted panel, 41 × 24.2 cm
© Shinji Ihara "104" 2023, Oil on canvas mounted panel, 33 × 24.2 cm
Photo by Yuya Saito