Chiho Aoshima

City Glow

30 September 2006 - 3 December 2006

City Glow was created by Tokyo artist Chiho Aoshima in collaboration with Auckland animator and VJ Bruce Ferguson and appears in Dunedin courtesy of Starkwhite Gallery, Auckland in association with Kaikai Kiki, New York and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles.

Aoshima says, ‘I concentrate on creating individual worlds.’  In City Glow it is a world of doe-eyed girls in a landscape populated by futuristic skyscrapers transformed into human like creatures along with vibrantly hued flowers, dragonflies, snakes and supernatural creatures.

Chiho Aoshima is one of the most prominent artists emerging from Kaikai Kiki, the studio of Japanese maestro Takashi Murakami. This school of art apprentices is part of what Minna Proctor describes in ArtReview as ‘the vast visual empire that Murakami has built around his theory of Superflat, an art based on traditional Japanese painting, post-war consumer society, a robust culture of cartoon and animation and a singular national obsession with cuteness.’

City Glow tells a story about life’s seasons, death and hope. Aoshima’s city lives through seasons to be almost subsumed by a ghoulish graveyard that is subsumed in turn by a joyous garden. ‘Duality is extremely important,’ explains Aoshima. ‘Being aware of life’s small joys requires the experience of grief and bitter suffering.’

Aoshima’s fantastical world endears itself to us – it defies the limits of the ordinary and is at once gorgeous and unsettling.


Aoshima graduated from the Department of Economics at Hosei University in Tokyo in 1995 and is known for her digital drawings and large murals. In October 2004 she created her largest mural to date for the 54th Carnegie International in Pittsburgh. Her work has also been shown at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2006, 2001); Japan Society, New York (2005); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2005, 2001); Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2002); Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2002); Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo (2001) and has been installed in the Union Square subway station in New York City, 2005.

Bruce Ferguson is an animator and VJ working from his Auckland studio, The Darkroom. Following his time with Kog Transmissions, a New Zealand music label dedicated to releasing electronic music, Ferguson moved on to work with Mike Mizrahi and Marie Adams on the spectacular events created for Louis Vuitton’s 150th celebrations around the world. Through these projects he met Takashi Murakami, which led to the invitation to work with Chiho Aoshima on City Glow.

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