Whitestone Gallery Karuizawa is pleased to announce an exhibition “VORTEX” by Japanese contemporary artist MADARA MANJI―his second solo exhibition in Karuizawa.

MADARA MANJI attracts great deal of attention both domestically and internationally by his unique metal sculptures based on Japanese traditional ‘Mokume-gane’ technique, which is a sort of toreutic. In his first solo exhibition “Antagonism and Transcendence” held at Karuizawa New Art Museum in 2017, he made a vivid impression on visitors with his excellent use of materials and techniques, in which he visualized how his inner contradiction or discrepancy which are originally never compatible with others sublime by repeating collision and confrontation.

In this exhibition, three years thereafter, MADARA MANJI extends his theory and philosophy “the power of being mixed and together” that he has treated as an individual scale to “the relationship between self and others”. Universal contradiction like “desire and reason” or existing paradoxes in times and societies are effectively projected onto various materials by the magic of MADARA MANJI. In his universe, where all those elements are unified with his technique requiring strong energy, sum of the things wiggles in an object and transforms into an uncontrollable vortex of power, gradually increasing tensions.

While the phase where contradicted forces are transformed from ‘self-destruction’ to ‘self-reliance’ after confrontation and integration seems to represent unchangeable quality of human beings, it also exposes our arrogance in the society. His aesthetics flickering in the delicacy keeps nobility.

Karuizawa Gallery3


1F / KARUIZAWA NEW ART MUSEUM, 1151-5 Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano, 389-0102, Japan

Tel: +81 (0)267 46 8691

Opening Hours: 10:00 – 17:00 (October – June) , 10:00 – 18:00 (July – September)
Closed: Monday

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Madara Manji was born in Tokyo in 1988. To learn toreutic techniques for the foundation of his further works, he moved to Kyoto after graduating from high school and worked as an apprentice under a toreutic master. After years, he aspired to become an artist in developing the foundation in various metal-processing skills and continues to self-learn and present artwork. Madara Manji creates simple and modern sculpture through mastering Mokume-gane, a traditional Japanese toreutic technique. The development of Mokume-gane began c.400 years ago in the early Edo period. Layers of different metals were stacked together to create exquisite patterns that were decorated on Samurai swords, to symbolize beauty and power. As the Samurai culture faded, the procedure-heavy and time-consuming "Mokume-gane" nearly disappeared, that was until the recent collections and studies conducted by international art museums brought the technique back onto the world stage. Above all, Madara Manji is a pioneer in first adopting the traditional craft as a method to create. Living with an austere life, Madara Manji uses the simplest tools to repetitively hammer various non-ferrous metal materials like gold, silver, copper, brass, etc. Similar to our inner thoughts, the creation that took a long period to form are not entirely compatible, but display beautiful patterns. The incompatible thoughts and feelings simultaneously collide and counteract, at the same time, thrive and advance on the verge of extremes. Such absurdities and transcendences are not confined to the intra-personal but coincide between oneself, one another, and even with the society as a whole. This is the extant virtue of human survival. The "Uncovered Cube" series may appear similar in shape and size, but there are, in fact, subtle discrepancies. The artist uses the "Cube" to manifest different silhouettes of human nature. He adopts an artistic direction to investigate humanity and the essence of materials from three-dimensional extension to plane. Over the constantly identical forging process of Mokume-gane, he then probes the limitation on integrations and coexistences of multimedia, projects his reverse studies of distinct humanities, and accumulates into a personal observation notebook packed with contradictions and recurred hearing in himself of humankind.


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