Born Tokyo, 1978, lives and works between Ireland and Kyoto, Japan
Behind the playful, surreal façade of Atsushi Kaga’s work lurks significantly darker territory; wherein the artist confronts serious issues of cultural politics, mental health – personal insecurities, paranoia (particularly a fear-of-missing-out), and the complex search for identity and the philosophical crises presented by daily routine. Through the eyes of a self-proclaimed ‘Otaku’, and fascinatingly influenced by a mixture of the Japanese storytelling cultures of Manga, Anime and Irish satirical Irish literature, from Swift to Myles na gCopaleen, Kaga’s razor-sharp wit and extraordinary imagination takes the viewer on a willingly-led journey of exploration through a complex alternate universe, a register of the sadly poetic to hilarious, in the company of a cast of invented, metaphorical characters. While still a student, Atsushi Kaga created the classic trickster, Pooka-like bunny, Usacchi, that has evolved over the years as an intricate, multi-faceted surrogate, an emotional self-portrait of the artist, at work and thought.
Originally from Tokyo, and now living and working between Ireland and Kyoto, Japan, Atsushi Kaga studied Fine Art at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin, graduating in 2005, and made a critically acclaimed first solo museum exhibition at the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny in 2008. Most recently Kaga presented his fourth solo exhibition at mother’s tankstation Dublin; Melancholy with vegetables surrounded by miracles (2020), which introduced and developed his recent, highly detailed large-format paintings, influenced by Dutch Vanitas and the 17-18th century Kyoto Rinpa school, fused to his characteristic style and subject matter. Atsushi Kaga has also made notable solo exhibitions with Maho Kubota Gallery, Tokyo, Jack Hanley Gallery, New York, Galeria Leme, São Paolo, Galerie Nicolas Krupp, Basel, and Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Dublin, amongst others. He participated in the Location One International Residency Programme, New York (2012); the International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York (2011); and has also held residencies in São Paolo, Fountainhead, Miami and the Artists’ Work Programme at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. In 2019-2021 Kaga was awarded the Tony O’Malley Residency, Callan, Ireland. Atsushi Kaga will participate in the Steep Rocks Art Residency, Washington, Connecticut in Autumn 2021, and will present his first London solo exhibition with mother’s tankstation | London in 2022.