26 Feb - 20 Mar 12-7 PM


From February 26 to March 20, 2022, Gallery COMMON is pleased to present Serendipity, a solo exhibition by Japanese collage artist Ichi Tashiro.
Born in Ehime, Japan in 1984, Ichi Tashiro first began scrapbooking and collaging as a young child. The hobby initially started as a means for him to escape reality and indulge in his own fantasy world, but by the time he graduated from high school it had become a central part of his identity, and at the age of eighteen he spontaneously moved to New York with nothing but the clothes on his back and a bag of art materials. Thus began the self-taught artist’s career. Sourcing newspapers and magazines from the trash, Tashiro survived by selling his collage works to tourists on the street, scraping together his hard-earned spare change to buy food each day. Nights were spent sleeping in public parks or, if he was lucky, the couch or floor of a generous friend.
The time he spent as a homeless artist deeply impacted his perceptions on class, value, social norms, and the function of art. His subsequent journey through the glittering world of galleries and art fairs across New York and Hong Kong exposed him further to the contradictions between art as an expression of freedom and creativity, and the dull reality of the market and politics. Faced constantly with the question of the true meaning of self-expression and value, Tashiro found himself time and again returning to the ”disposable” media that had at one point been his lifeline in New York.
The current exhibition showcases a total of 14 new pieces made through the same process as his works from 30 years ago– “a result of 30 years of the research of my subconscious.” His approach is straightforward, and almost childish: to create his own fantasy world out of the regular and mundane, to find magic and new beginnings in things that have been discarded and thrown away. Creating bizarre figures and visual stories out of mountains of somber text, Tashiro’s surrealist pieces emit a sense of innocence and clumsy excitement, enhanced by accompanying squiggles and impatient splotches of paint. This playful spirit and refusal to submit to the drudgery of working society, as symbolized by the finance newspapers he transforms into colorful worlds, is the hallmark of Tashiro’s philosophy both within his practice and in life.
Tashiro’s exercise in creation has played out, ironically, amidst a backdrop of impending doom– the extinction of his very source material, the newspaper. Our world now is vastly different from the one in which Tashiro first began his career, and so too has his relationship with newspaper changed. As the digital realm rapidly conquers our previous forms of physical interaction, Tashiro reflects on the history– and future– of paper as a medium of connection. The shaped wooden panels featured in this exhibition are based upon origami shapes, drawing inspiration from the paper-folding tradition that emerged in Edo in the 1700s, in which paper functions as a sculpture and art form within itself. Contrasted against this are the current day newspaper clippings, in which paper functions as a transmitter of text and facts. The act of collaging this material across this background illuminates the ways in which paper has, until now, served as a vehicle for communicating culture, information, and, of course, art; and in doing so, Tashiro prompts us to consider the role of paper– and, in turn, our modes of communication and the possible avenues of creativity defined by them– in the future.
“Newspapers are slowly becoming a relic of the past. Paper media is dying. All the knowledge of all mankind is now in our phones, and artificial intelligence can reach a level of perfection that humans no longer can. If you ask what it is that humans have that robots don’t, it is creativity. Instead of going by the rules and living within society’s narrow definitions, we should have fun and make mistakes – that’s how we run into serendipity and make new discoveries. On the other side of that line where there are no answers lies a world of infinite possibilities.”
As Tashiro says, his process reflects his refutation of a fixed world of predetermined answers. Combining random rips and tears with planned cut-outs, he embraces the serendipity that arises from unpredictable mistakes, as well as the will to intentionally create one’s own destiny. In an age where technological advancement has elevated us to lives of effortless accuracy and immediate answers, Tashiro’s fantastical works prompt us to reevaluate the importance of mystery and serendipity in fostering imagination and creativity. The artist’s whimsical approach itself is his rebellion– a rebellion against the constricting structures of our society, against the prejudices that suppress diversity and nonconformity, against the overwhelming barrages of information that exhaust us into becoming mindless consumers, and against all the forces that stifle human expression.

2022年2月26日(土)から3月20日(日)まで、Gallery COMMONではコラージュ・アーティストIchi Tashiroによる個展「Serendipity」を開催いたします。
1984年に愛媛県で生まれ、幼い頃からスクラップブッキングやコラージュを制作していたIchi Tashiro。当初は現実から逃避し、空想の世界に浸るために始めたこの趣味は、高校を卒業する頃には彼のアイデンティティの一部となり、18歳の時には着の身着のまま画材の入ったバックパックだけを携えてニューヨークへ移住し、独学でアーティストとしてのキャリアをスタートさせた。渡米した当時はゴミ箱から新聞や雑誌を拾い路上で観光客にコラージュ作品を売りながら、稼いだ小銭をかき集めて食べ物を買い、夜は公園で寝る日もあれば、運が良ければ気前の良い友人宅のソファーや床で寝る日もありました。