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Kohei KOBAYASHI “Yawning・ Lessons”


“Yawning・Lessons”  sample Drawing、2018、Sumi ink on paper


Kohei KOBAYASHI Solo Exhibition

Yawning・ Lessons

2018.04.21 (Sat) – 05.26 (Sat)

Close :  Sun, Mon, and National holidays
Open : 11:00-18:00 / 11:00-20:00 (Fri)
Reception : 2018.04.21 (Sat)   18:00-20:00

Demonstrator: Ikuhiro Yamagata, Masaru Segi
Videographer: Yasutaka Watanabe
Design: Masakazu Onishi
Subtitles: Wanaka Okada
for their contribution to the video work

Supported by ARTISTS’ GUILD, SUHARA the Picture Frame Maker


KOBAYASHI’s works are well known for his witty installation that employs objects, drawings, and texts to create mutual influence, together with performance and video, documenting various dialogues. Throughout the exhibition, it activates general public to intimate viewing experience. His works are recently acquired by Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, and National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.

At this exhibition, the artist presents three new works: the multiple objects inspired by ancient allegory from east and west from all ages, and the video to capture dialogue between the artist himself and the cast when viewing these objects. The exhibition focuses on the exploration of the viewing experience while taking reference from materials such as object, drawing, and the structure of the allegorical story, also to deconstruct existing allegory in order to derive a different material and event happening in the exhibition space. It aims at bringing emancipation from lessons and morals given by these allegories and obtaining a whole new viewing point.

The new video is a document of dialogue referring to “Akubi-shinan” (Yawning Lessons), from Japanese classical Rakugo (a one-man telling show of humorous story). It is a popular and appreciated story that many storytellers respectively acted for generations and it is based on the conversation between a young man who randomly visited a private school back in Edo period to take yawning lessons, his friend, and a yawning master. To teach how to yawn is intrinsically strange and fishy, moreover, with a boring lesson by the master and the dull conversation between this young man still struggles to yawn, his friend finally yawns instead that the master praises him or audience unexpectedly yawns, which is the punch-line of the story of “Akubi-shinan”.

The drawing made especially for this exhibition is based on the fable, “The Swan, the Pike, and the Crab“ written by the Russian writer Ivan Krylov. In this story, the swan, the pike, and the crab resolved a load to haul. Although they pulled with all their might, the cart-load on the bank stuck tight. The swan pulled upward to the sky, while the crab crawled backward, when the pike made straight to the water. There is no right judgement who to blame, but only the cart stays on the bank for too long.

When these allegorical stories in all ages imply lessons and morals, Rakugo does not necessarily show them but KOBAYASHI says that viewers are more likely tossed to the outside of morals. In the drawing, he replaces three characters from Krylov’s fable to the three from “Akubi-shinan”: the swan/the master, the crab/the young man taking a lesson to yawn, and the pike/his friend makes a big yawn. The artist invites us to a different story taken apart from the original allegory through this transformation and we try to read it naturally, with no question asked.

KOBAYASHI, until now, showcases various works that induce our viewing point that transcends beyond fixed concept and idea. In consideration of the change in system to fall apart, to discover new discipline, or taking both into an account by the replacement with different discipline even partially, this exhibition aims for deep exploration in the possibility of the perception to be formed over object, action, and language.