Art Basel Hong Kong | Atsushi Kaga


_The artist’s monumental homage to his mother fuses Kabuki theater and Kyoto Rinpa painting in a depiction of personal loss_

Ukiyo-e (2022-23) by Japanese artist Atsushi Kaga is a multi-panel painting staged within a theatrical structure that evokes a small late-Edo period Kabuki theater. Referencing traditional Japanese architecture, it includes a raised Tatami-mat floor and paper lanterns. Designed as stylized seasonal landscape, the work depicts the artist’s alter ego ‘Usacchi,’ a small rabbit who embodies his experience of living between Japan and Europe.  

At a table placed at the heart of a golden garden, Usacchi is seated among food and metaphorical objects that reference Kaga’s late mother, Kazuko, with whom he developed formative artistic collaborations. Connecting different states of consciousness, Usacchi grasps an eggplant and cucumber, Japanese symbols of loss. The painting’s composition and gold leaf surface evoke the work of painter Jakuchū and the luminous grounds of the 18th century Kyoto Rinpa school, which were environments of immersive entertainment.  

Atsushi Kaga is presented in Art Basel Hong Kong’s Discoveries sector mother’s tankstation (Dublin, London).

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