Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chimei Hamada Catacomb 1966

Catacomb / etching, aquatint / 35.2×35.2cm / 1966

It’s also collected in the Uffizi Gallery. Drawing a catacomb in Rome, it vividly expresses in etching and aquatint the depth and mystique a catacomb has.

Catacombs were made when Christianity hadn’t been recognized officially. This site makes us feel the process of the history.

Only 20 copies have been published.

Chimei Hamada Cage

It is a work made in the very early years of his career as a sculptor.

This work is titled “Cage” and made in 1983. Having the same theme, Elegy for a New Conscript: Cage was made in etching in 1978.

Beyond the invisible cage, that is an army, the hands of the young man reaching out for help are made in a large scale to express the strong desire.

It’s already been out of print, but we were able to get it for the first time in this 20-something years.

This work is mainly stored at:

Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art; The Tokushima Modern Art Museum; The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama; Komagane Kogen Art Museum; etc.

Contact us about this work


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Chimei Hamada Button (A)

Button (A) / etching, aquatint / 32.5×35.5cm / 1988

“Taepodong 2 ready-to-fire”

These kinds of news never cease even after entering 21st century.

This work satirizes the foolishness of this nuclear war era, when a person in power could kill hundreds of thousands of people easily.

An influential person pushes the button that leads to the final “death button.” Although there are some people between the first button and the final button that kills a great number of people, they have no choice but push the buttons ahead of them. There’s no will. The stupidity and emptiness of human being are depicted in this piece.

Pushing the buttons naked, naked but wearing shoes and boots, the figures emphasize the silliness.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shoko IMANO “HIDE-SEEK” 2009

Shoko Imano's new works one-man show was held at HIRO GALLERY from October 13 to 28 in 2009.

Finishing the stay in Rome at the Coming Artists Overseas Study Program of Cultural Affairs Agency, it was the first one-man show after the return to Japan.

The painting above is a work made after his coming back from Rome. It's his familiar series, “Blouse.”

If we compare them, this one has totally different atmosphere from the works made in Rome.

After all, artworks reflect the ambience, life and culture of the place where the works were made, so it was an enjoyable exhibition we were able to compare the differences.

A woman wearing a blouse in closeup. The trimmed piece rouses our imagination. This is one of the attractions of Shoko Imano's works.

The painting above is a work made in Rome.

The motifs of the works by Shoko Imano are delicate ones such as skin, translucent shirts, and so on. Therefore, it is very difficult to show the subtle colors in the images of publications or on the web.

We hope you will see the works first hand in the future.


PAVEL TRNKA EXHIBITION, which was held from July 19 to August 10 in 2008, was a success so that a lot of people including the Czech Republic Ambassador and the mayor of Ito City attended.

HIRO GALLERY IZUKOGEN is a Japanese style building, designed by the late Yoshiteru Kamisato of Seisetsusha in Kyoto. We integrated this building with the works minimally expressed by a Czech grass artist, Pavel Trnka, and exhibited them.

In nature surrounded Izukogen, Pavel Trnka’s grass artworks showed its true beauty in the natural light. “Chakra,” the theme of the works, represents the energy of nature so the exhibition made the most of its surroundings than the one in HIRO GALLERY GINZA in 2005.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shoko Imano: Bridge Art Fair New York 2008

We exhibited Shoko Imano’s works in a one-man show style in Bridge Art Fair New York 2008 from March 27 to March 30, 2008.

Mainly large pieces being exhibited, that was Shoko Imano’s first presentation in the US. His characteristic humor, color and subtlety impressed the audiences in the US, so it was a quite success.

Many attendances praised our display as the most appealing one. We were very happy hearing that and it was worth to come all the way to the US and introduce his works.

It was pretty fun to watch the people who couldn’t help laughing or reflected on themselves looking at Love Handle.

We hope that the people in the US were able to get the concept of the artist, “border,” which is the ambiguous border Imano pursues in his works.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cecco Bonanotte’s History: No. 10

In 1990, he visited to Germany for a one-man show at the Sudstadt Galerie in Cologne. Then he traveled to Japan and opened the traveling exhibition “Cecco Bonanotte” in major museums in Japan with an exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in Toyama.

The traveling exhibition “Cecco Bonanotte” was held at:

The Museum of Modern Art in Toyama 1990/4/20 - 5/20; The Shimonoseki City Art Museum 5/25 - 6/24; The Museum of Kyoto 6/30 - 7/2; Odakyu Grand Gallery in Tokyo 8/15 - 9/19

The poster of the exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in Toyama

Confrontation / bronze / h 125cm / 1971-72

In the exhibition, Bonanotte’s 90 works from the early works to the new large pieces at that time were collected from both home and abroad, which were introduced on a massive scale.

Man and Birds / bronze / h 130cm / 1980

Tightrope-walker-Confrontation / h 220cm / bronze / 1989

Cecco Bonanotte’s History: No. 9

He made Colloquium 1986-87 for the Senate of the Italian Republic and it was installed in 1987.

In the same year, he was commissioned to make a work for the new Parliament House of the Australian Federation in Canberra. In the next year, Colloquium (h: 2.7m) was placed there.

The man standing in the center of the circular relief. Colloquium between fellow human beings, nature and man, universe and life, human existence and spirit and preciousness of life is condensed into Bonanotte’s characteristic work.

After that, he traveled to Israel for a one-man show at the Herzliya Museum of Tel Aviv. And he also went to Turkey for the traveling exhibition. Then, he went to Korea and made a solo show on a large scale at The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cecco Bonanotte’s History: No. 8

In 1980, organized by HIRO GALLERY, a traveling one-man show was held successively in Tokyo, Sendai, Fukuoka, Kobe and Nagoya. His connection with Japan deepened more and more.

The view of the venue

Cecco Bonanotte’s History: No. 7

Travels of St. Paul, which were made by Bonanotte in 1977, were housed in Vatican Museums. Then, in 1985, this work was contributed to the United Nations by Pope John Paul II.

During his journey to Kenya the Pope gave the work on permanent loan to the UNO; it was placed in the UN regional headquarters in Nairobi.

We can feel St. Paul’s deliberate motion from this work.

An expression, “the scales fall from one's eyes” derives from an episode of St. Paul. A disciple named Ananias prayed for him and "something like scales" fell from his eyes, then his vision was restored.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cecco Bonanotte’s History: No. 6

His first exhibition at the HIRO GALLERY was held in 1977.
It is when he was 35 years old.

Although using metal, heavy material, Bonanotte’s works are characteristic for its delicate and graceful form.

In the next year, he won the “Icaro” Competition which is important in Italy. The prize-winning work entitled Icarus, was later placed in the Ministry’s head-quarters in Rome.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cecco Bonanotte’s History: No. 5

In the Ocean Expo in Okinawa that commemorated Okinawa's reversion in 1975, Flight-Awaiting 1975 was exhibited as the representative work of contemporary Italian art in the Italian Pavilion. He came to Japan for the first time in this year. It’s when he was 32 years old.

Since the end of the Expo, this work has been placed in Italian Embassy at Mita Minato-ku, Tokyo. As a bird -Uccello- that symbolizes human freedom and spirit, Human hope -Attesa- flies freely into the sky leaving the trajectory. It’s a very romantic scene. The antique-looking bronze makes us feel the passage of human history.

In this year, his first exhibition in Japan “Cecco Bonanotte” was held at the Tokyo branch of Osaka Formes Gallery.

Cecco Bonanotte’s History: No.4

When Bonanotte was 31 years old, he won a competition and made a work titled Sculpture Polimaterial for the Michelangelo Celebrations. After the celebrations, this work was displayed in the Michelangelo birthhouse-museum at Caprese Michelangelo.

The title, Sculpture Polimaterial, means “a sculpture made of multiple materials“ and this work consists of three kinds of substances that are stone, copper and bronze.

The attempt to bring out the best of the characteristics from materials by Bonanotte was already made when he was 31 years old.

This work expresses all the opposite things in the natural world such as man and woman, matter and spirit and so on in a structure like a theater. Using different elements, he aims to recognize the substances existing in this world anew.

This is a wonderful work that makes us feel the existence of the earth, human and nature in our bones.

Cecco Bonanotte’s History: No.3

Executing doors in Europe is regarded as an important business because they represent the building and last forever.

There are many buildings that have over 1000 years of their history, so making doors suitable for those historic architectures are required very high quality.

Bonanotte have made a lot of those important doors. The most important ones include the bronze portal for the new entrance to the Vatican Museums and the bronze portal for the Musee du Luxembourg, the oldest museum in France.

The first door he made is the one in the image: Ascension, a bronze door placed at the hospital in Cremona. This portal was selected in a competition.

It was made when he was only 30 years old.

We can find his characteristic style, “pictorial sculpture,” from this stage.

Cecco Bonanotte’s History: No.2

Being appointed a professor at the prestigious Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma in his 24, he began to win a lot of important competitions.

In 1971, when he was 28, a gallery in Rome made his first one-man show.
On this occasion, he was assigned the commission to execute two works for the St. John Apostle and Evangelist Church in Mililani Town (Hawaii). And Kimihiro Fujii from Osaka Formes Gallery in Japan, who later founded HIRO GALLERY, was fascinated by his works and purchased them. Kimihiro Fujii at that time was only 31 years old. After that, HIRO GALLERY became his main private gallery.

The image: Madonna and Child / 1971-72 / St. John Apostle and Evangelist Church, Mililani Town, Hawaii

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cecco Bonanotte’s History: No.1

Cecco Bonanotte was born at Porto Recanati, a small town facing the Adriatic Sea in the Marche (Italy), in 1942. With his father, a furniture maker, he naturally found enjoyment of creating things using wood and instruments.

He entered a local art school with his brother, Raffaele, when he was 11 years old. Then, in his 17, he moved to Rome to attend a prestigious school, the Sculpture Course at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma.

From his school days, his gift was highly valued by Pericle Fazzini, a great Italian contemporary sculptor, and so on. Winning an important award in Italy, he began to teach Drawing and Decorative Modeling at the Accademia di Belle Arti though he was only 24 years old, as an unprecedented case. He began to distinguish himself from his youth.

The image: the artist when he entered the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma. (at the atelier of the school)

Cecco Bonanotte

We would like to introduce another artist of our gallery, Cecco Bonanotte, who is a leading sculptor in Italy.

In recent years, he made many world-renowned works including The bronze portal for the new entrance to the Vatican Museums in 2000, The bronze portal for the Musee du Luxembourg in Paris in 2006 and so on.

In Italy, 2005, it came to an issue as an outstanding achievement that the first exhibition as a living artist, “Cecco Bonanotte - Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri - ,” was held at the Gallery of Uffizi, which has over 400 years of history.

Chimei Hamada’s works collected by Uffizi Gallery: No.4

The fourth work is Elegy for a New Conscript, which was made by etching and aquatint in 1952.

The wall in the rear is the site the artist really stood on, which was about 5 or 6 maters high. He didn’t look at the execution on his own, but he heard about it from a veteran soldier and made this work based on the episode, he says in a catalog published by Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art.

There are some people in the back who are indifferent to the gibbeted head. Even we the people who don’t have any experience of war firsthand, can get how tragic war is, which makes people insane.

Chimei Hamada’s works collected by Uffizi Gallery: No.3

The third piece is Elegy for a New Conscript: A Flabby Sun Rises. It was made in 1952 by etching.

Most of his works aren’t so large that this one is especially small among them. But in the small surface, it expresses the vast continent of China in an excellent way, so it makes us forget the smallness of it.

In recent years, especially speaking of contemporary art works, they tend to be large to impress audiences. This work, however, a splendid one that makes us feel again that the value of the artworks doesn’t depend on their sizes.

The soldiers looking down and marching, the large rising flabby sun show exhaustion and despair from the everlasting road, endless war,

Chimei Hamada’s works collected by Uffizi Gallery: No.2

The second item is Elegy for a New Conscript: Sentinel. This one was made in 1951 by etching and aquatint. This is a piece of the series “Elegy for a New Conscript” that has its basis on his experiment of war.

A posted sentinel holding a rifle, a soldier hanging himself in the skull-shaped background and a harsh scene in the daytime are expressed like a montage in the work.

The tension, fear, solitude and a sense of hopelessness of the soldiers who are on the border between life and death perpetually are vividly depicted by the skull-shaped background, the large weird tree, darkness, birds and so on. In these kinds of expressions, we can find a crescent moon in darkness and a mad wall lit up by the moon in a surreal and beautiful way, which is a further attraction of Chimei Hamada.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chimei Hamada’s works collected by Uffizi Gallery: No.1

We would like to present some of the 19 collected items by Chimei Hamada in Uffizi Gallery.

The first item is St. Horse. This work was made in 1950, but he made a work that has the same theme in 1938, as his first copperplate print.

This work was developed from his observation of a slaughterhouse in his school days.
It makes us think about “death”. Hamada says about the horse crucified on a cross: “I associated horse and human.”

Chimei Hamada Exhibition at the Uffizi Gallery

It is the scenery of the Chimei Hamada Exhibition, which was held from Dec. 14th, 2007 to Jan. 27th, 2008 at the Uffizi Gallery. During the same term, Rembrant exhibition was also held in the next room.

Getting collected in the museum, which has over 400 years of history and is renowned worldwide for its great collection of Italian Renaissance paintings, is a rare case. Both one-man exhibition and being housed in the museum are the historic achievements so that Japanese artist has accomplished none of them before.

We interviewed some visitors about the works by Chimei Hamada. Looking at a painting, Elegy for a New Conscript: A Flabby Sun Rises, one of them highly praised it and said: “it is a true masterpiece that depicts the vast continent in its small surface and everlasting way that imply the suffering of war.”

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Who is Matteo Ricci?

Being commonly unknown in Japan, Matteo Ricci, who was one of the missionaries of Christianity, was a figure in the next generation of Francis Xavier who propagated Christianity in Japan. He was born in the year when Francis Xavier passed away.

He accomplished the propagation in China, that Xavier wasn’t able to, and made great achievements at that time, in the Min dynasty court. Matteo Ricci published a world map that put China in the center of it.That map changed the perspective of the world of Chinese, who hadn’t looked at any world map before. The map was also imported into Japan that was in the period of national isolation, and changed the view of the world of Japanese in the same way. It was also the first world map for Japanese.

Speaking the historical background, when Matteo Ricci was in Beijing in 1598, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, a great general who unified Japan, made Invasions of Korea. Later he died in Beijing in 1610. His accomplishments were highly valued by the emperor at that time, so the grand tombstone was built in Beijing.

The coming year, 2010, marks the 400th anniversary of Matteo Ricci's death. To commemorate that, Matteo Ricci’s Exhibition is being held at the Vatican Museums organized by Antonio Paolucci, the president of the museums, from Oct. 30th, 2009 to Jan. 24th, 2010. In Macerata in Italy, Matteo Ricci’s birthplace, the 3-meters statue of him is going to be built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of his death. The work is going to be made by Cecco Bonanotte, one of the artists of our gallery.