76 Grand Street
Strawberry Bomb was a painting, sculpture, and drawing installation by Koji Shimizu. The work was inspired by the contradictory memories of the artist’s childhood in rural Japan. The “strawberry” in the exhibition title came from the small family strawberry farm where the artist lived until he left for art school in Tokyo at the age of eighteen. The “bomb” came from the artist’s vague childhood awareness of a more sinister history of modern Japan that contradicted the peaceful atmosphere of the strawberry farm.
Shimizu’s work was direct and immediate. He transferred images from his memories and his imagination directly onto the fragments of paper, canvas, and wood that he accumulated to construct his installations. Benign images of strawberries and farm implements were interspersed with disturbing images of bombs and war material. They were rendered with an equivalent naiveté and tenderness. The work was soft, made from tissue paper and papier-mâché. Sculptures of tanks and artillery were built up from layers of yellow tissue paper rather than from heavy metal. The images appeared to have floated into the space directly from a dream.
The subject of Shimizu’s work also derived from his childhood conception of what was “cool” and “uncool.” Growing up on a small farm in 1970s Japan was uncool. Fighter planes, tanks, and bombs, as depicted in popular comic books, were cool. The work reflected the confusion of the artist’s identity as a farmer’s son in a Japan where rural traditions were under constant challenge from the enticements of popular culture. The work also reflected the contraction between the simple, truthful country life and the increasingly artificial Japanese popular culture.
Koji Shimizu is a graduate of Musashino Art University in Tokyo and received an M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. He has lived and worked in New York since 1993.
March 8 - 11, 2018
We will present a special solo project by the artist JR.
Image: JR, Migrants, Walking New York City, 2015
April - May 2018
18 Wooster Street
76 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
Monday – Friday
10 AM – 6 PM
Tuesday – Saturday
Noon – 6 PM
The gallery reopens with People in April 2018.
+1 (212) 343-7300
View this website on a larger screen for the full experience.