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Expressing the existence of precious pitiful human beings

Chie Aoki | 青木千絵

Urushi Sculpture Artist, Japan




    The figures in my work often take a somewhat sad or melancholic pose; they hang their heads, throw themselves down, sit firmly planted upon the ground, or stand for ever motionless. These works comprise a life-size human body merging with an abstract rounded jet-black mass to portray a human figure suffering from anxiety, fear, or apprehension withdrawing into their shell; each figure isolates themselves from the external world and just quietly exists in silence.

    Each one is coated by a lustrous jet-black membrane; the effect is achieved by repeatedly layering thin coats, each measuring less than a few tenths of a millimeter. More than 30 production process slowly give solidity and build a strong surface with a mirror-like luster. This steady progress resembles the creating of a shelter to protect us from the external world; it is as if the hard and beautiful lacquered surface transformed the vulnerable and unattractive human into a powerful and beautiful being.

    By using urushi lacquer, strong and striking material, I want to express the "existence of precious pitiful human beings" who live so powerfully and vigorously while bearing their burden of anxiety and solitude.  


2005 B.F.A., Kanazawa College of Art, Kanazawa, Japan.

2007 M.F.A., Kanazawa College of Art, Kanazawa, Japan.

2010 Ph.D., Kanazawa College of Art, Kanazawa, Japan.


2005  The Japan Lacquer Crafts Association Award

2019  ​Merit Award,

            2019 KOGEI World Competition in Kanazawa 



​2006  Gallery TE, Tokyo

2007  Gallery TE, Tokyo

2009  Gallery Art Concept, Kanazawa, Japan

2010  Galleria Finarte, Nagoya, Japan

2011  Urushi Body, INAX Gallery 2, Tokyo

2017  Shikkoku no Shintai,

             Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe, Japan

2018  A Body in Solitude, Sokyo Gallery, Kyoto, Japan


​2006      Tama Vivant: Now Rhythm Is Overlapping,

      Tama Art University, Tokyo

             Minatomirai Station, Yokohama, Japan

             45th Hokuriku Chunichi Art Exhibition,

             21st Century Museum of Contemporary

             Art, Kanazawa, Japan.

2008      Tama Vivant II: Seed of Images,
             Tama Art University, Tokyo

             Minatomirai Station, Yokohama, Japan

             Kanazawa Art Platform 2008:

             To Create Our Own Place by Ourselves,
             Tsubakihara Tenmangu Shrine,

             Kanazawa, Japan

2009      Emerging Directors’ Art Fair Ultra 002,

             SPIRAL, Tokyo

2010      Curving Out the Future of Lacquer:

             Age of the New 2010,
             Ishikawa Wajima Urushi Art Museum,

             Wajima, Ishikawa, Japan.

      1st International Triennale of Kogei

             in Kanazawa “Network Crafting”,

      Rifare, Kanazawa, Japan

     Aizu Urushi Art Festival,

            Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima, Japan.

            Lacquer: Searching for New Expressions,

            Kitakata City Museum of Art, 

            Fukushima, Japan       

2011     Aizu Urushi Art Festival,

            Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima, Japan

2012     Resonant Uruwashi: New Vibrance in

            International Woman’s Urushi Art,
            Yamawaki Gallery,

            Kyoto City University of Arts, Kyoto

            Kitakata City Museum of Art, Fukushima, Japan

2013     World of Great Lacquer: Origin and Flows,

            2nd Hubei International Triennial of Lacquer Art,

            Hubei Museum of Art, Wuhan, China

2014     Shizubi Project 4: The Human Form and Sculpture,

            Tsuda Akiko, Fujiwara Ayato, Aoki Chie,

            Shizuoka City Museum of Art,

            Shizuoka, Japan

2015     Fruitfulness: Contemporary Art in Toyokawa,
            Toyokawa City Sakuragaoka Museum,

            Toyokawa, Aichi, Japan


            Four Spirited Artists,

            Shinoda Toko Art Space, Seki, Gifu, Japan

            The Future of Lacquer:

            The People Who Are Following Setsuro Takahashi,
            Takahashi Setsuro Art Museum,

            Azumino, Nagano, Japan.

           Contemporary Arts Exhibition,

           Minna no Mori Gifu Media Cosmos, Gifu, Japan.

           Gifu DNA,

           The Museum of Fine Arts Gifu, Gifu, Japan.

2016     HATCHi to Art Tourism,

            The share hotels, Kanazawa, Japan

          World of Lacquer: Cycle of Time,

            3rd Hubei International Triennial of Lacquer Art,

            Hubei Museum of Art, Wuhan, China

            Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum, Japan

            Spider’s Thread,

            Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota,

            Aichi, Japan.

2017     Hard Bodies:

            Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture,

            Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A.

            The Ishikawa International Urushi Exhibition 2017,

            Shiinoki Cultural Complex, Kanazawa, Japan

            Shapes and Figures, SPIRAL, Tokyo

            Wacoal Study Hal, Kyoto, Japan


2018    Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum, Japan.

           Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Main Store, Tokyo

         Nihonbashi Takashimaya, Tokyo

          Water and Land Niigata Art Festival 2018,

          The Niigata Saitou Villa, Niigata, Japan

          Thick chat,

          Kanazawa Citizen's Art Center, Kanazawa


          Traditional Art & Craft of Ishikawa


2019   Exposure of the method,

          Shiinoki Cultural Complex, Kanazawa, Japan

           Development of modern crafts 2019,

           Kanazawa Yasue Gold Leaf Museum, Kanazawa, Japan

           4th Triennale of KOGEI in Kanazawa,

           21st Century Museum of Contemporary art ,

           Kanazawa, Japan

           ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair 2019,

           Shanghai Exhibition Center, Shanghai, China

          Design Miami 2019,

          Miami Beachi Convention Center,

          Miami, USA.

​2020  Assemble ~ Accumulating technique and body ~,

     The Musuem of Arts & Crafts ITAMI, Japan.

       2D & 3D collaboration exhibition, Takashimaya.

     Expressing Lacquer,

          Kanazawa Nakamura Memorial Museum.


​2021    GO FOR KOGEI 2021,

           Special Exhibition I - Shokoji Temple, Japan.


           21st Centru Museum of Contemporary Art. Kanazawa.

2022   Arts Towada 10th Anniversary Exhibition:

          Inter+Play Season 1,

          Towada Art Center.

        Metal and Urushi of Crafts, Toyama, Japan.

      Collection Exhibition 1 Vessels, 

          21st Centru Museum of Contemporary Art. Kanazawa.

      Genreless Kogei, 

          National Crafts Museum.

      illusionary microcosm -Phosphorescence of four contemporary lacquer artists-


      Roppongi Crossing 2022: Coming & Going,

          MORI ART MUSEUM.


Kanazawa College of Art, Ishikawa, Japan

Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A.

Hubei Museum of Art, Wuhan, China

Tokushima Modern Art Museum, Tokushima, Japan

Morikami Museum, FL, USA.

Yishun Art Space (Shenyang, China)

​Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art.

21 Century Museum of Contemporary Art. Kanazawa

​National Crafts Museum


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