Shinji Ihara Love Your Neighbor 2021

March 3rd (Wed) - April 18th (Sun), 2021

  • KEN NAKAHASHI (5F, No.2 Shinjuku Bldg., 3-1-32, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan)
  • Advance reservation: https://airrsv.net/kennakahashi/calendar
  • Hours: Wed・Thu・Fri 11:00 - 19:00, Sat・Sun 11:00 - 17:00
  • Closed: Mon・Tue

KEN NAKAHASHI is pleased to present Love Your Neighbor 2021, a solo exhibition by Shinji Ihara, to be held from March 3rd (wed) until April 18th (Sun), 2021.

In 2019, Ihara was invited by his friend to travel to Antarctica. Departing from Ushuaia, the southernmost port city of Argentina, Ihara embarked on a two-week voyage. While feeling isolated in a situation where there was no one who could understand Japanese and no connection to the Internet, Ihara started to draw portraits of the crew members and passengers from around the world, using seasickness bags and pencils that he found on the ship. Through this travel, interacting with strangers in this way, Ihara discovered what is essential.

This exhibition includes a collection of the drawings of people that Ihara met on his journey to Antarctica, cassette recordings and writings of his memories of meeting these strangers, as well as pictures and videos that recount his journey. These seemingly trivial things serve as the junction points to those memories.

In the past, Shinji Ihara had mainly drawn familiar people such as friends and self-portraits. Isolation from society and community became the root of this body of work that was driven by the wish to connect with others.

In an attempt to close the distance between himself 'ME' and others 'YOU', the MEYOU series exhibited in October 2018 portrays anonymous people that he met on social networking services, and is based on randomly exchanged messages and images.

In contrast with the MEYOU series, which is based on the exchange of information that jumps through time and space online, the Love Your Neighbor series was created by communicating with strangers commuting on the cruise—the infrastructures of traffic and transportation.

Now, in the midst of the pandemic, divisions that used to be difficult to see are becoming visible and social distances between us creates not only more physical distance but also psychological distances such as distrust and discrimination. Perhaps, it reveals that anyone can become a party to the problem. Therefore, in this exhibition, Ihara’s records of the ethical practice of ‘Neighborly Love = you must love your neighbor as yourself’ will be presented as a single installation and through this experience, as individual viewers and as a society, we can draw our attention closer to social issues.

Statement by Shinji Ihara.

I showed my sound installation at the group exhibition one’s behavior, which was held from January through February, 2020 at KEN NAKAHASHI. This installation consisted of 10 cassette tape recordings of my memories of the people I encountered on the cruise to Antarctica. These tapes gradually became more and more difficult to play.

At the time Covid-19 was spreading in Japan, we were surrounded by a disquieting and strange atmosphere, vague and uncertain information created gaps between people, and we began to be afraid of even touching something. Fear of invisible things and unexpected obstacles became interpersonal as the stagnation of much of our society became apparent. In this exhibition, I hope that we will gently look at each other and that this exhibition will become a place to deepen our thinking as a self of us—’WE’.

February 13, 2021. Shinji Ihara

3 episodes—from the Love Your Neighbor series



《Olga and Fabian》

Update: August 28, 2021

【Shinji Ihara "Love Your Neighbor 2021" archive booklet can be downloaded from the following Dropbox】