Taro Furukata, The Perfect Hug, 2018, video installation (still)

Raised on opposite sides of the Pacific but with roots in Hiroshima, American artist Ken Okiishi and Japanese artist Taro Furukata come together in conversation with the curator to discuss the legacies of the Asia Pacific War in their art practice and daily lives. Their distinctive approaches to the past bring forth the juxtaposition of an unexpected intimacy with a hard edged political critique of the official narratives of the time period—Okiishi’s approach is through the lens of family and oral history, while Furukata approaches US-Japan propaganda from a research-based standpoint. The curator will lead the conversation between the artists, highlighting the nuances of their respective artistic approaches in relation to the exhibition theme at large. The talk will be followed by a Q&A.

Ken Okiishi is a fourth generation Japanese American artist born in Ames, Iowa. He currently lives and works in New York and Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include: A Model Childhood, The Art Gallery, University of Hawai’i (2022), Pilar Corrias, London (2019) and Reena Spaulings Fine Art, Los Angeles (2018). Okiishi’s most recent film, Vital Behaviors, had its US premiere at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2021.

Taro Furukata was raised in Hiroshima, where he received a BFA (1999) and MFA (2001) at Hiroshima City University, before moving to Berlin for 12 years to receive a BFA (2010) from the Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin. He currently lives and works in Hiroshima and teaches Contemporary Art and Theory at Hiroshima City University. Recent exhibitions include his solo show The Invisible Commemorative Building, THE POOL, Hiroshima (2022) and Each Day Begins with the Sun Rising, Benton Museum of Art, Claremont (2022).