Kouichi Tabata

scenery with milk

December 12, 2020 - January 16, 2021
12:00 - 18:00

Yutaka Kikutake Gallery is pleased to present “scenery with milk,” an exhibition of works by Kouichi Tabata. This marks the artist’s second solo presentation with the gallery since his previous showing three years ago, and introduces his first new video work in a while, along with a selection of four new paintings and 16 drawing works.


soon ripe soon rotten

One day at the supermarket the fruits left unsold on the shelf had caught my eye, so I took a picture.

The fruits that remained were those not selected by various unspecified customers, while the blank spaces signified the places where fruit had been picked out for purchase.

The remaining fruit had also appeared to look like an unintentionally conceived composition.

Should someone purchase another fruit, it would no doubt give rise to a different composition.

I began taking photographs of this moment that I happened upon, gathered these images and once again put them into a single box, and started creating a work that was like a collection of leftovers.

Ultimately this work came to consist of a total of 1070 photographs, which I took and gathered for over a period of three years between 2018 and 2020.

While many of the photographs were taken in Germany, several are from the time when I had returned to Japan.


one way or another (camembert)

In response to a request to draw cheese for a certain project, I began depicting several images of camembert.

As I drew I came to realize how the condition of the white mold, as well as the pattern of the net that was imprinted on its surface during the manufacturing process as it ripened, was completely different for each individual cheese. Many of them also start to melt when left out for several hours.

While drawing connections between the time for which the cheese was left to mature and the time it takes me to meticulously depict the cheese in front of my eyes, the shift between the two that is conceived at the end seems to retain them in a “form that brings them together while pulling them apart.”


one way or another (watermelon), (flat peach), (milk)

These are some oil paintings that I had made between this summer and fall.

The milk in the glass catches the sunlight that shines through the window.

I noticed the blue of the sky slightly reflected on the bottom of the second glass of milk that I had painted.

When I finished painting this I decided to bring my work production for this exhibition to an end, at least for now.


Kouichi Tabata








Since 2016 Tabata has been working on his “one way or another” series that experiments with new approaches to oil painting and drawing. Through incorporating possible “shifts” present in the context of painting, such as shifts in the support medium, motif, perspective, and consciousness, he has worked to present a new form of painting that extends and lies beyond historical discourses on painting. Tabata, who continues to live and work in Berlin, selects motifs from within his everyday life, observes them carefully, and then depicts them in the form of paintings and videos, or at times as collage works. While these motifs range from plants and fruits to daily necessities like teacups and cutlery, and even wild birds and insects, all are indeed close to human life and are things that everyone has seen and handled. The works, created by extending the line of sight to the very details of these extremely concrete subjects as if in an attempt to reconstruct them, instill in us viewers a delicate sense of awareness towards things that are often overlooked and forgotten in daily life.



Kouichi Tabata was born in 1979 in the Tochigi prefecture. He received a B.A in Intermedia Art from the Tokyo University of the Arts in 2004, where he also received an M.A. in Oil Painting in 2006. He currently lives and works in Berlin, having completed a residency with the Grant for Overseas Research supported by the Pola Art Foundation in 2011.




”one way or another (milk)” #02, 2020
Oil on wooden panel
30 x 40 cm

”one way or another (camembert)” #12, 2020
Pencil on paper
28 x 38cm