As we continue to delve into London’s Japanese art scene, sharing some of our favourite works – and in this case, some of our favourite curations – our attention turns to Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix, a contemporary gallery in Spitalfields that seeks to share vibrant, international works.
“Coming from Japan, I was aware of what was happening in the contemporary art world in Tokyo and was intrigued by both the similarities and the differences between the two countries’ art scenes“
Can you tell me a little about Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix? What was the inspiration behind the gallery?
I have always been enthusiastic about the contemporary art scene in London, there’s so much going on and real unique vibrancy. Meeting young and aspiring artists has convinced me that London attracts talents not only from the UK or Europe but from all over the world. Coming from Japan, I was aware of what was happening in the contemporary art world in Tokyo and was intrigued by both the similarities and the differences between the two countries’ art scenes, which is a part of the reason I opened the gallery.
Are there any particular Japanese artists or collections that inspired your interest in the arts?
I believe the first artworks that have an impression on you when you are young, shape your sense of beauty. In this sense, I’ll admit that the paintings of artists such as Ogata Korin (mid 17th Century), series of Yukiyo-e (woodblock prints), patterns of Kimono embroidery and other decorations and even small decorations on lacquered soup bowls that we used to use at home, must have nurtured aesthetic. I also believe that many Japanese contemporary artists have their ‘roots’ in traditional Japanese art, in terms of space, colour, or the way they conceive life in general.
What exhibitions do you have coming up and what drew you to them?
After the Aoki & Ito show, early next year we will have a show of Delaine Le Bas, an English artist from a Romany background. Spring next year will be another Japanese artist, Ryohei Kan who will show a hypnotising, minimalist video that he is creating especially for the show, along with some photographs. In the summer Radouan Zeghidour, who was the very first artist to show in the gallery will return for an exciting solo show.
What is your vision for Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix moving forwards?
We enjoy the challenge of staging exhibitions in London’s highly competitive art scene and are pleased to notice our level of recognition rising slowly but surely. We are starting the second stage of life for the gallery, and taking this positive trend into a broader context. One of my objectives for the gallery is for 50 percent of the shows to be the work of Japanese or other Asian artists, and I am also aiming to introduce local artists to the Japanese art market.
Like the sound of Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix? Head over to Spitalfields to check out their latest joint exhibition with Ryoto Aoki and Zon Ito and its references to both traditional and contemporary Japanese artwork.