NANZUKA is pleased to present Higoro No Okonai, a solo exhibition of new works by Masato Mori from May 25th at NANZUKA UNDERGROUND (Jingumae, Shibuya). This marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in three years since his previous show in 2021. In addition, Mori’s solo exhibition Snaker will also be presented concurrently at INS Studio in Dogenzaka, Shibuya, from Friday, June 21st.

HIGORO NO OKONAI is the latest chapter in a series of picture diaries describing Mori’s daily life in Tokushima and could be regarded as a sequel to his 2021 solo exhibition “Lonsdaleite Year.” Taking to heart Japanese manga artist and historian Shigeru Mizuki’s philosophy of happiness to “keep doing what one cannot do without,” Mori has increased the intensity of his artistic practice by elevating his interests and concerns to a level of sheer passion. Mori engages with the canvas as a means to crystallize various experiences, from collecting insects such as butterflies and longhorn beetles to playing in the river catching shrimp and small fish, living with animals like cats, snakes, and crows, growing various flowers and plants including wisteria, roses, and sunflowers, as well as remodeling his house which he inherited from his grandfather to transform it into an artwork.

His new works in this exhibition illustrate an attempt to suggest a correlation between painting and underground music, influenced by his friendship with two long-time friend and DJs, 5ive and Powder. The world of dance music, where grooves are created by the harmony of individual sounds, has inspired Mori, who states that “there are no foul colors in the world, only bad combinations of colors,” to perceive the fusion of colors as the harmony of sounds. This led Mori to consciously consider the correlation between sound and color, rhythm and brushstrokes, and melody and composition. The “Snaker” exhibition at INS Studio, which traces a decade of his collaborations with 5ive, will provide a complementary opportunity to showcase the footsteps of Mori’s such artistic endeavors.

Just as there are unpleasant and pleasant sounds, or unexpected combinations of sounds that generate fresh impressions, Mori engages in several experiments with these new works in pursuing the idea that colors can also bring pleasure and surprise. In the work “Unko no Bandou,” which Mori personally selected as the main visual for this exhibition, he takes on the challenge of creating an experimental image that further pushes towards abstraction. What he achieved as a result is a painting that consists of a harmony of beautiful and powerful colors in a way completely unimaginable from the title of the work. Furthermore, his exploration of colors to generate different tones as also observed in this work, has led him to produce more than half of his new works in oil paint. Mori describes his ideal painting as “a picture created by the paint and brush magically jumping onto the canvas freely, joyfully, and as if dancing, like you would see in the world of a storybook.” This exhibition will indeed serve as an opportunity to experience the progress of Mori’s remarkable artistic talent.

For this exhibition, Mori will present more than 15 new paintings, mostly large canvases, and 4 bronze self-portrait sculptures. An opening reception attended by the artist will take place on Saturday, May 25th 16:00-18:00 at NANZUKA UNDERGROUND.