Aoi Michimata, own pace

aaploit is delighted to showcase ‘own pace,’ a solo exhibition featuring the works of Aoi Michimata, running from September 1st (Fri) to September 24th (Sun). Michimata is currently specializing in Woodblock Printing at Musashino Art University’s graduate school.

One of Michimata’s notable creations, ‘Kafka’s Staircase,’ originated during her undergraduate years and was inspired by Takeshi Ikuta, a social activist and writer. Ikuta drew reference from the novelist Franz Kafka’s ‘Letter to My Father,’ serving as a catalyst for this remarkable piece.

Losing your job, losing your address—these experiences resemble descending a staircase. Yet, once you find yourself on the street, the climb back to your former life is akin to facing towering steps. In Franz Kafka’s ‘Letter to My Father,’ he eloquently expressed the weight of excessive paternal pressure, describing it as having to ascend a staircase five times taller than usual—a climb he struggled with despite giving his utmost effort. It mirrors the monumental barrier faced by individuals striving to secure an address, find employment, and secure finances until the next payday—a staircase that seems insurmountable, akin to a daunting wall in their path.

Reflecting upon these profound concepts, Michimata’s ‘Kafka’s Staircase’ poignantly captures the inherent irrationality of life, echoing the sentiments experienced within her generation. Through her artistic interpretation, Michimata skillfully articulates the challenges and complexities faced by her peers, encapsulating the essence of life’s unreasonableness.

Likewise, isn’t every staircase within a society, intended for ascension, uniquely distinct from the others? Each staircase, metaphorically representing the paths individuals take, showcases its own intricacies and challenges. Within society’s construct of progression, these varied staircases symbolize diverse journeys, each with its own hurdles and complexities.

Should individuals who are unaware they are descending a staircase, those who have forsaken the notion of ascending, and those who have consciously abandoned this pursuit, all be compelled to ascend a staircase?

Kafka's Staircase, 2023, AOI MICHIAMTA
Kafka’s Staircase, 2023, AOI MICHIAMTA

Through her artistry, Michimata poses these inquiries. While her creations delve into contemporary themes akin to those explored in Toyoko Kids, at initial glance, her works exude a picture book-like ambiance. Yet, the profound depth of the themes she navigates unveils a striking contrast, akin to the unexpected shifts reminiscent of steps on a staircase.

Facing the expectation to ascend career stairs, what does this stairway to professional progress entail when one seeks authenticity? Does it demand sacrificing one’s humanity in return?

In contemporary Japanese society, where the cohesion between generations is increasingly challenging, Michimata’s inquiries resonate not only with the younger generation but also with baby boomers and individuals occupying pivotal positions within companies. Her questions encompass broader societal challenges surrounding generational divides and hold relevance across various age groups and professional hierarchies.

It’s a plea to consider stairs as symbolic of diverse situations, recognizing that not all situations apply universally to everyone.

This exhibition will showcase the ‘Kafka’s Staircase’ series alongside a new collection of works. We cordially invite you to seize this opportunity and immerse yourself in Aoi Michimata’s solo exhibition.

Exhibition overview

Exhibition Dates: Friday, September 1, 2023 – Sunday, September 24, 2023 Opening Hours:

  • Friday: 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM
  • Saturday: 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM
  • Sunday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Venue: Contemporary Art aaploit 2-19-2 Suido, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Admission: Free
Website: aaploit Official Website – Aoi Michimata’s Exhibition


Aoi Michimata

Born in Hokkaido, Japan, he graduated from Musashino Art University in 2023 and is currently studying printmaking at the same graduate school.