YOH NAGAO ⎮ Living History

The INEICHEN AUCTIONEERS launch their series of art auctions in cooperation with emerging and established artists. This August we present you an online timed auction with an exclusive series of artworks by Yoh Nagao on the indigenous people, the Ainu, who once inhabited Hokkaido, the northern part of Japan, Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands.

Yoh Nagao is passionate about ethnography. After his vast artistic research on distant in space and time cultures, Yoh focuses today on his ancestors' cultural background. 

In the presented Ainu series Yoh Nagao reinterprets the photographs, artifacts, and scarce documentation preserved at museums worldwide, including the famous ainu-e from the Edo period. The unusual appearance and primitive lifestyle of the Ainu were intriguing and amusing for the Japanese middle classes from the cities, who were the major consumers of these works. The demand for ainu-e (paintings depicting aspects of the lives of the Ainu), was satisfied by painters, who visited these islands to depict the daily routines of the Ainu. Often the painters lived together with the Ainu for several months or even years, using their skills to demonstrate authentic depictions of the mysterious indigenous people of the Japanese islands.

In the Living History series by Yoh Nagao the Ainu people come along well with the consumer habits of today: the protagonists get dressed in the luxury brands as well as their living surroundings get decorated with well-recognized artifacts from Japanese pop culture.

YOH NAGAO / 長尾 洋 (*1981) is a Yokohama-born and Nagoya-raised Japanese contemporary artist who is passionate to pursue his artistic and philosophical theme “We will be the indigenous people of the future” by combining painting and collage in his art pieces. Yoh Nagao is one of Japan's leading international artists and since his much-acclaimed solo exhibition in Hong Kong in 2009, his works have been exhibited around the world including Zurich, London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Tokyo, Miami, Los Angeles, and Mexico.

Curated by Julia Lechbinska