Chiba Masaya

The curious and chaotic fictional scenes Chiba Masaya creates, in which handmade objects, photos and sometimes even pets appear, function as allegories that visualize through physical sensations peculiar to the artist the anxiety and sense of impending crisis that pervades contemporary society. Chiba starts by making human figures out of papier-mâché and wood scraps, collecting various everyday materials and sometimes digging holes with collaborators, to create temporary landscapes that combine forms he has concerned himself with or created, which he then depicts in his paintings. The finished works are displayed on simple, homemade wooden stands, creating more expansive space in which the boundary between painting and sculpture becomes blurred.
In the ongoing series Turtle's Life, Chiba places a turtle in various confined spaces and settings surrounded by walls, creating paintings that serve as extreme metaphors for contemporary society in which the turtle is likened to a passive member of human society who must accept the state of things. In the Crying Head series, started in 2008, streams of water resembling tears and food recalling vomit spill out of holes in a head in what appears to be a response to the anxious atmosphere that pervades society and an expression of mounting emotions. In recent years, Chiba has also presented in various venues a series of performances entitled Self-Portrait, in which the artist asks other people to play him. Rather than depicting his own image on the canvas, Chiba uses the performer's face to create a self-portrait based on a series of instructions from other people. In Seoul, a taekwondo practitioner performing a series of roundhouse kicks became Chiba's fictitious persona, realizing on his behalf the kinds of superhuman actions he dreamed of performing. Chiba practices an ambitious and expansive form of painting, and the world he depicts does not require a flat canvas.


Born in Kanagawa in 1980, Chiba Masaya currently lives in Kanagawa. He graduated from the Oil Painting Course at Tama Art University in 2005. Painter. By digging holes in collaborative projects, and making human figures out of papier-mâché and wood scraps, Chiba makes places and objects that are a product of his own physical actions. He also creates structures using a wide array of everyday materials like plaster, stone, fabric, drawings, and photographs, and depicts these temporary landscapes in his paintings. Then Chiba makes a new space by displaying these works on simple, homemade wooden stands, realizing a total harmony between painting and sculpture. In recent years, he has participated in various group exhibitions both in and outside Japan, including Roppongi Crossing (Mori Art Museum, 2013), Mono no Aware: Beauty of Things (The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, 2013-2014), the California-Pacific Triennial (Orange County Museum of Art, 2013), Kunisaki Art Project (2012), and Winter Garden (Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, 2009).