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“Modern Living: Hiroe Komai”

by Matthew Larking

Shin-bi Gallery, Kyoto
Closes Nov. 8

London-based Hiroe Komai’s first solo exhibition, “Modern Living,” shows a series of sculptural low-relief wall collages and colored drawings.

The drawings take up themes of Cubist and Modernist apartment blocks, cellular geometric lattices, or the interior of a restaurant. They develop into shallow spaces within collages of layers of cheap veneers, the kind usually applied to the interior surfaces of houses. These include wood-grain flooring sheets that are used to cover up less aesthetic building structures and give homes a more cozy atmosphere and other materials associated with Komai’s interest in the British obession with DIY.

Her low-relief wall sculptures are edgy and angular, repeating 1970s-’80s-style hexagons and parallelograms, a play on those innocuous home decorations that look “arty” but were likely manufactured with no meaning.

The majority of pieces form a crystalline structure of abutting or interlocking geometric shapes and the various facets are covered in the mildly reflective sterile surfaces often found in the bathroom or kitchen. Such materials have a factory finish but, like the faux marble, do not look especially cheap. They fill the demand of middle-class desires to emulate the wealthier and form part of what appears to be a social commentary from Komai.

For more information call (075) 352-0844; www.shin-bi.jp