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The New York Times Style Magazine

Shinichi Sawada’s “Untitled (117)” (2006-10) and “Untitled (128)” (2010)

The New York Times Style Magazine
The Mythological Figures of Shinichi Sawada
The Editors of T Magazine recommend Shinichi Sawada's new solo exhibition at Venus Over Manhattan.

For the past 20 years, the self-taught Japanese artist Shinichi Sawada has sculpted ghoulish ceramic beasts that grimace, glare and gawk. The unglazed works, reminiscent of both Jomon pottery and anime, first garnered international attention at the 2013 Venice Biennale, and this week they make their long-anticipated U.S. debut with an exhibition at Venus Over Manhattan.

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Georg Kolbe Museum

Shinichi Sawada, Georg Kolbe Museum, 2020

Georg Kolbe Museum
Shinichi Sawada
The filigree objects by the Japanese artist Shinichi Sawada (born 1982) are reminiscent of fantastic hybrids of humans and animals, of demonic masks, totems, medieval monsters or artistic pre-Columbian artifacts - and yet come from their very own world.

Defying art-historical conventions as well as criteria of the contemporary market, Sawada's ceramic creatures testify to creative freedom and immense imagination. While they seem to be an expression of an inner dialogue that is extremely peculiar and yet universal in its emotional presence, the artist himself rarely speaks.

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55th Venice Biennale

The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th Venice Biennale, 2013

55th Venice Biennale
The Encyclopedic Palace

Shinichi Sawada is featured in The Encyclopedic Palace exhibition of the Venice Biennale, curated by Massimiliano Gioni

"Blurring the line between professional artists and amateurs, outsiders and insiders, the exhibition takes an anthropological approach to the study of images, focusing in particular on the realms of the imaginary and the functions of the imagination. What room is left for internal images—for dreams, hallucinations and visions—in an era besieged by external ones? And what is the point of creating an image of the world when the world itself has become increasingly like an image?"

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Raw Vision

Sculpture by Shinichi Sawada

Raw Vision
Shinichi Sawada
Mizue Kobayashi, director of the social welfare institution Aiseikai in Japan and recently involved in the Art Brut Japonais II show at the Halle Saint Pierre in Paris, discusses Shinichi Sawada's work and technique.

No-one knows who or what Sawada’s spiky creatures represent; due to the nature of his autism, the artist barely communicates verbally. He demonstrates such confidence and assuredness when he works that it seems that he has envisioned exactly how his final piece will look, despite having no visual references in front of him. He replicates one of around 15 different creature motifs each time, but, as each piece is created entirely from memory, there are subtle differences that make each finished piece unique. 

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Biography

Biography

Portrait of Shinichi Sawada

About the Artist

Shinichi Sawada (b. 1982) lives and works in Japan’s Shiga prefecture. Since 2000, he has attended Nakayoshi Fukushikai, a social welfare facility that supports people with intellectual disabilities. In 2020, a solo exhibition of his work traveled from the Museum Lothar Fischer in Neumarkt, to the George Kolbe Museum in Berlin. His work has featured prominently in major group exhibitions around the world, including “The Encyclopedic Palace” at the 55th Venice Biennale, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, and “The Doors of Perception” at Frieze New York in 2019. His work is held in the permanent collections of numerous public institutions, including the Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne; the abcd collection, Paris; and Halle Saint Pierre, Paris.

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