Yuji ONO

Vice Versa ‒ Les Tableaux

2018.12.12 Wed - 2019.2.2 Sat

Opening hours: Tue-Sat 11am-7pm, closed on Sun, Mon and Public Holidays
Opening Party: From 18:45pm, Wed., Dec. 12, 2018

Exhibition Press Release >>
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Yuji ONO Works and Information >>






Ever since I began to engage with photography and moved to Paris, and from the very moment I encountered the rich wealth of paintings in that city, I had dreamed of one day restoring painting as an advanced form of art and as a means of two-dimensional expression to the context of photography, which also in itself deals with the two-dimensional realm.

What is important here is the issue of sincerity. As expression already exists within the paintings, my works are all the more established through not engaging in personal expression.

It is to return everything as much as possible to a state of zero. Both paintings and photographs are equal and are respectively slaves to the “light that exists perpetually.” The same can be said for myself.

Yuji Ono



ShugoArts is pleased to present “Vice Versa – Les Tableaux,” a solo exhibition of works by Yuji Ono from December 12th 2018 to February 2nd 2019.

This exhibition marks Ono’s first solo presentation in 12 years (14 years since his previous showing in Tokyo), and features the artist’s Tableaux series that he has continued to work on since 1995, serving to introduce it’s course of progression and developments leading up to recent years.

Dealing with paintings from the Renaissance to the Impressionist era as their subject, the Tableaux series is thorough in its concept, photographed under the natural light within the museum space, “attempting to trace back in time and return to the same conditions under which the works of these artists were realized.” That which emerge as a result, are obscure images that are far from the original paintings. The frame which ordinarily fulfills a supporting role at times becomes a leading part of the work, while even the space and the very atmosphere of the place where the painting is hung is incorporated into its context. In this respect, the accumulated passage of time during which Ono confronted his subjects, come to quietly manifest within his oeuvre.

Ono has engaged with paintings from the 16th century to the 18th century as his motif, from the works of artists conceived before the introduction of artificial light, to the works of impressionist painters who ventured out of their studio to capture the ephemeral changes in atmosphere, light, and time upon the canvas. As a photographic artist he has continued to pursue a means of expression that is only realizable through photography, which in the 19th century before the birth of impressionism, was a technique that had threatened the practices and social standing of artists working in realist painting. In his Tableaux series, Ono thus appears to realize a grand narrative by conveying the intersection between the history of painting and the history of photography through the works.

Ono states as follows regarding his Tableaux series.

“It is perhaps possible to attain a similar banal outcome or sorts through the application of technique, or by simply changing the angle. Yet there is no interest in this at all, in particular when appreciating the works of painters or creating a homage to painting, as well as in reconsidering the love-hate relationship between photography and painting that has existed like two sides of a single piece of paper since the moment photography was born.”

This series that can be described as “another form of painting depicted through light,” is a testimony of Ono’s intimate exchange with the artists whom he respects. At the same time, it also is a result of Ono’s actions that deliver a sharp blow to the history of painting. Finally, we believe that it is a great honor for ShugoArts to have been given the opportunity to present this solo exhibition with Yuji Ono, who has kept his silence within the art scene for the past 12 years. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Yuji Ono, and to all who provided their support and cooperation in realizing this exhibition.

ShugoArts, October 2018



Yuji Ono “Vice Versa – Les Tableaux” Artist Talk
Special Guest: Masanori Aoyagi (Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo, Director of Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art)

5:30pm-7pm, Wednesday, December 12th, 2018
Venue: ShugoArts, Admission free
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Yuji ONO, Paesaggio lacustre conpastore? Anonimo (De Heusch Willem?), 2001, Gelatin silver print, 112.5×89.5cm, ed.12



Yuji ONO, Ritratto di Enrico VIII(Henry VIII), Hans Holbein, 2001, Gelatin silver print, 112.5×89.5cm, ed.12