Erika Kobayashi

1F in the Forest of Wild Birds

February 1 - March 9, 2019
12:00 -18:00

Opening Reception with the artist: February 1(Fri)18:00 ‐ 20:00

Yutaka Kikutake Gallery is pleased to present “1F in the Forest of Wild Birds,” a solo exhibition of works by Erika Kobayashi from February 1st to March 9th, 2019. The exhibition marks the artist’s first solo presentation at the gallery, and features a new series including “Forest of Wild Birds” that consists of 30 painting works.


Erika Kobayashi visited TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, turning her attention to the vegetation that had once existed in the premises. The vast plot of land currently serving a storage site for tanks containing contaminated water had once been referred to as the “Forest of Wild Birds,” a place richly overgrown with trees and flowers, where the voices of various birds could be heard. The trees were cut down after the accident at the nuclear power plant, and the entire grounds of the area is now covered in silver mortar in order to reduce radiation levels. Kobayashi overlays the time of the past with the presence of radioactive material to create works that summons our imagination towards things that are invisible to the eye.


While receiving high acclaim for her publications as a writer and comic artist, Kobayashi has continued to produce an eclectic array of works encompassing various mediums from drawing to silkscreen, photography, mirrors, light, and sound. Conducting multi-faceted research into nuclear energy from prior to the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, she engages in creating works that are grounded by their highly informative nature and rich sense of poetry, also overlaying her personal family history into the context of her practice. Such concepts and considerations were brought together in the installation work “Sunrise” (2016) comprising drawings, neon, and sound, which was presented at “Roppongi Crossing 2016: My Body, Your Voice.” The new works presented on this occasion, along with paintings reminiscent of flowers that had once grown in Fukushima’s forest, are inspired by the more delicate and subtle memories concerning issues of nuclear energy.


Erika Kobayashi was born in 1978 in Tokyo. In 2007 – 2008 she was invited to New York as an Asian Cultural Council Fellow. She currently lives and works in Tokyo.

Kobayashi creates works that are inspired from things that are invisible to the eye, time and history, family and memory, and the traces of place. In 2014 she was nominated for the 27th Mishima Yukio Award and the 151st Akutagawa Award for her novel, Madame Curie to choshoku wo (Breakfast with Madame Curie), published by Sueisha. In parallel, she has presented installation works both in Japan and overseas, which enable viewers to re-experience various scenes in which the elements of fiction and documentary from her writings drift back and forth between personal narrative and social reality.

Her other publications include the collection of short stories She Looks into the Mirror (Shueisha), the nonfictional work Shin’ai naru Kitty tachi e (Your Dear Kitty) inspired by the diaries of Anne Frank and based on the diary of Kobayashi father, the graphic novel Hikari no kodomo 1.2 LUMINOUS (Children of Light: Luminous) which traces the history of the atom and of radiation, and a book of her recent texts, drawings, and comics, Wasurerarenai Mono (I Can’t Forget) (Seidosha).


Kobayashi’s recent exhibition include, “Roppongi Crossing 2016: My Body, Your Voice,” Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2016); “Living Locally –Reconsidering Critical Regionalism,” ARTS MAEBASHI (2015), “Your Dear Kitty, the book of Memories,” collaboration with The Future, Lloyd Hotel and JCC, Amsterdam (2015); “The Radiants,” Bortolami Gallery, New York (2015), and “She Looks into the Mirror,” GALLERY 360°, Tokyo (2014).

“TEPCO Decommissioning Archive Center(Former Energy Museum at Tomioka town in Fukushima prefecture)”, 2019
The facades were designed to emulate the houses where Einstein, Marie Curie and Edison were born.
Digital silver halide print, Silver foil, Acrylic mirror
40 x 60 cm