Chiho Aoshima

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Chiho Aoshima's Mujina, 2002–03
Chiho Aoshima
Native name
Tokyo, Japan
EducationHosei University 1995
Known forFilm and Video Art, Sculpture, Print, New Media, Mixed Media
Notable work
City Glow

Chiho Aoshima (青島千穂, born 1974 in Tokyo, Japan) is a Japanese pop artist and member of Takashi Murakami's Kaikai Kiki Collective. Aoshima graduated from the Department of Economics, Hosei University, Tokyo. She held a residency at Art Pace, San Antonio, Texas in 2006.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Chiho was unhappy while studying economics at Hosei University. In an interview with Saatchi Art Aoshima admitted that, "I was bored to death, even when I was hanging out with my friends. I was eager to create something but didn’t know what to create, every day time passed so slowly and I felt like I was going to die."[2] She taught herself how to use Adobe Illustrator and began to fall in love with the medium.[3] After participating in her first show, Murakami's Tokyo Girls Bravo, she began to work in Murakami’s factory.[4]

Aoshima’s work often involves surreal scenes and dreamscapes, often including ghosts, demons, nature and shōjo.[5] Aoshima mostly prints large scale images onto papers with heavy-duty printers, but she has also printed on materials such as leather and plastic surfaces to give her images different textures.[6]

Aoshima works in sculpture and animation, her largest image yet is from her City Glow Series. She displayed this work in an exhibition in the Gloucester Road tube station in London and the 14th Street – Union Square subway station in New York City. It measures 32.5 meters in length and 4.8 meters in height.

Aesthetic influences[edit]

Aoshima's work can be thought to come from somewhere in between innocent reality and a twisted dream world. Aoshima states that, "My work feels like strands of my thoughts that have flown around the universe before coming back to materialise."[7]


It's easy to see traditional Japanese artistic tendencies in her artwork. Chiho has said that ukiyo-e painter and printmaker Hokusai has had a great deal of influence in how she approaches her artistic renderings. Much like the traditional ukiyo-e compositions, her subjects are drawn with a well defined flat line[8] and are placed in a single plane of depth.[9] The ukiyo-e principals also play a heavy influence on her overarching style principal known as superflat.


Aoshima's works are considered superflat, the postmodern art movement which was founded by Takashi Murakami. Using digital drawing tools Aoshima creates unique lolicom scenarios, featuring nymphettes cavorting with animals, cheerleaders gone awry, and blood-stained sashimi slicers, all depicted with soft, cool colors, little modeling, and a dreamy, teen point of view.

For Superflat, a 2001 exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Aoshima scaled up The red-eyed tribe, a highly detailed landscape filled with stylish young women, originally made for an Issey Miyake advertisement, to a massive fifteen by fifty-two feet.[10] Because of the nature of the medium, there was no loss of clarity in the production of the giant digital prints, and the transference of the intimate, hand-held scale of mango to billboard bombast illuminates the possibilities of the simplified manga look for environmental applications.[11]


Chiho's heavy use of feminine figures with big eyes, small facial features, thin bodies makes the shōjo's, a young woman approximately 7–18 years old,[12] body cute but sometimes ugly, scary, and funny. The physical transgressions and unpleasant presentations challenge what is cute and beautiful about the objectified shōjo, and Aoshima makes this point via a flowery, cute shōjo aesthetic.[5]

Aoshima takes the motherly and worldly form of the feminine figure and transforms the childlike atmospheres into grotesque scenes. She keeps just enough of the classic shōjo aesthetic to remain cute and docile but distorts it into another otherworldly, monstrous, theme.[3]

Artists who use shōjo techniques are often critiqued for perpetuating cultural norms through their use of gender defining roles for their female characters. Oftentimes shōjo is seen as a feminist movement, however Chiho denies any such political affiliation.[5]


Permanent collections[edit]

Solo exhibitions[edit]


- "Rebirth of the World", Asian Art Museum, Seattle, USA


- "Kawaii ! Horror and Seduction", Foundation Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain

- "City Glow", Video Installation was on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.


- Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France - "Chiho Aoshima: City Glow", Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA

- "The Divine Gas" on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, on the Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall. Ending October 28.


- "Artspace Residency Program", San Antonio, USA - Lobby Installation for New Building, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, USA

- "Chiho Aoshima", Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK - "Chiho Aoshima", Musée d’Art Contemporain, Lyon, France

- "City Glow, Mountain Whisper", Gloucester Road Subway Station Installation, Platform for Art, London, UK


- "Asleep, Dreaming of Reptilian Glory", Blum & Poe Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

- "MTA Subway Poster Design", public Art Fund, New York, USA

- "City Glow and Paradise", 14th Street – Union Square Subway Station Installation, Public Art Fund and Japan Society, New York, NY, USA

- "DoCoMo Kyūshū Ad Campaign", NTT DoCoMo, Kyūshū and Okinawa, Japan


- Collaboration with Patrick Demarchelier for the May issue of Harper’s BAZAAR magazine

- Opening of the Gallery in Miami, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Miami, USA

- "What's Good Conference", lecture, Hong Kong Art Center, Hong Kong, China

- Extension Gallery Opening, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France


- Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France

- "Macromatrix For Your Pleasure", UC Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA, USA

- Collaboration with Naoki Takizawa for Issey Miyake, Tokyo, Japan


- Blum & Poe, Santa Monica, CA, USA


- Collaboration with Naoki Takizawa for Issey Miyake, Tokyo, Japan[14]

Group exhibitions[edit]


- "Kyoto-Tokyo: From Samurais to Mangas", Grimaldi Forum, Monaco


- "The Very Bottom Of The Air", Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

- "VRAOUM", La Maison Rouge, Paris, France - "Wonderland through the Looking Glass", Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, Netherland

- "Pretty is as Pretty Does", Film screening, Site Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM


'- "Aya - Chiho Drive", Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

- "Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art since the 1960's", San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX, USA

- "Krazy! Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art", Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

- "Re-Imagining Asia", Haus der Kulturen der Welt: The House of World Cultures (HKW), Berlin, Germany

- "Kaikai Kiki Artists", Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

- "The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality, and the Moving Image", Smithsonian Institution, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, USA


- Kaikai Kiki Exhibition, Aoi Gallery, Osaka, Japan

- "City Glow", Nuit Blanche Toronto, Toronto, Canada

- 6th Mercosur Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil

- "Red Hot: Asian Art Today from the Chaney Family Collection", Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA

- "Land of the Samurai", Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland

- "Disorder in the House", Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels, Belgium

- "MCA Exposed: Defining Moments in Photography", 1967-2007, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, USA

- "Like Color in Pictures", Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, USA


- "Banquet: A Feast for the Senses", Pacific Art Museum, Pasadena, CA, USA

- "TBA" Mizuho Oshiro Gallery, Kagoshima, Japan

- "Human Land", Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, Lille, France

- "Spank the Monkey", Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK

- "Berlin-Tokyo, Tokyo-Berlin", Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany

- Starkwhite Gallery, Auckland, NZ; Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin, NZ

- "Painting Codes", Galleria Comunale d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome, Italy

- "Il Diavolo del Focolare", Plazzo della Triennale, Milano, Italy

- "See Into Liquid", Contemporary Art Museum of Denver, Denver, CO, USA

- "Rising Sun", Melting Moon, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

- "POPulance", Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

- "Roppongi Hills Show", Rommongi Hills, Tokyo, Japan - Walker Center installation, Minneapolis, MN, USA

- "International Artist-in-Residence : New Works 06.3", Artspace, San Antonio, TX

- "Twogether", 34 Long Fine Arts, Cape Town, South Africa


- "See into liquid" (curator: Cydney Payton), Museum of contemporary art, Denver, CO,USA

- "Variations on the Picturesque", Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, Ontario, USA

- "Kaikai Kiki exhibition", Aoi Gallery, Osaka, Japan

- "Ecstasy: In & About Altered States", Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (curated by Paul Schimmel), USA

- "POPulance", Blaffer Gallery, Museum of Art of the University of Houston, Houston, TX; Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH; Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Salem, NC, USA

- "Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture", Japan Society, New York, NY (curated by Takashi Murakami), USA

- "MTA Subway Poster Design", Public Art Fund and Japan Society, New York, NY, USA

- "What’s Good Conference", Hong Kong Art Centre, Hong Kong (Lecture), Japan

- Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France


- Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Miami, FL, USA

- "Mysterious", Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, Palm Beach, CA (curated by Dominic Molon), USA

- "54th Carnegie International 2004-05", Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

- "T-Junction", Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France

- "Fiction Love : Ultra New Vision in Contemporary Art", Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan

- "Eijanaika! Yes Future!" Lambert Collection, Avignon, France

- "Art Unlimited", Basel Art Fair, Basel, Switzerland

- "Lonely Planet", Art Tower Mito, Ibaragi, Japan

- "Tokyo Girls Bravo", Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY, USA

- Chiho Aoshima, Mr., Aya Takano, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin at LFL Gallery, New York, NY, USA

- "Little Boy : The Arts of Japan's Exploding Pop Culture", Japan Society, New York, USA


- "Hope—The Future is in Our Hands", LAFORET Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

- "For the Record: Drawing Contemporary Life", Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

- "Splat, Boom, Pow! The Influence of Comics in Contemporary Art", (curator: Valerie Cassel), Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, USA

- "The Mythical Being of Desire" : Chiho Aoshima, Shirin Neshat, Shazia Shikander, Glass Curtain Gallery, Columbia College, Chicago, IL, USA

- "SAM Collects : Contemporary Art Project", Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA, USA - Asprey Jacques, London, UK


- "Miami Art Basel", USA

- "Fiac", Paris, France

- "Tokyo Girls Bravo 2", NADiff, Tokyo, Japan

- Chiho Aoshima, Aya Takano, Mr., Takashi Murakami, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France

- "Coloriage", Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France -

"Liverpool Biennial 2002", Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK


- "Superflat", Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA, USA

- "Yokai Festival", Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo,Tokyo, Japan

- "Hiropon Show", (curator: Takashi Murakami), Museum of Contemporary Art of Tokyo, Japan

- "Hiropon Show", White Cube Gallery, Shinsaibashi PARCO, Osaka, Japan


- "Superflat", Tokyo and Parco Gallery, Nagoya, Japan


- "Hiropon 32-80" at NADiff, Tokyo, Japan and George’s, Los Angeles, CA, USA

- "Tokyo Girls Bravo", NADiff, Tokyo and Parco Gallery, Nagoya, Japan[14]

Associated people[edit]


  1. ^ "Chiho Aoshima | Blum & Poe". Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  2. ^ "Interview: Chiho Aoshima : Saatchi Art Magazine : News and Updates for Art Lovers". Archived from the original on 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2015-04-21.
  3. ^ a b Knight, Christopger (10 June 2005). "At once childlike and monstrous" (PDF). Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 November 2014.
  4. ^ Tucker, Annie (January 2006). "In a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Chiho Aoshima's Parallel Universe" (PDF). Juxtapoz. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-11-14.
  5. ^ a b c "New Voices" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  6. ^ "Chiho Aoshima - Artists We Love - Share and Discover on". Retrieved 2015-04-07.
  7. ^ "Chiho Aoshima Biography – Chiho Aoshima on artnet". Retrieved 2015-04-08.
  8. ^ Bell, David (2004). Ukiyo-e Explained. Global Oriental. ISBN 978-1-901903-41-6.
  9. ^ Michener, James A (1959). Japanese prints: from the early masters to the modern. C.E. Tuttle Co. Retrieved 2015-04-21.
  10. ^ "Chiho Aoshima, artist biography". Seattle Art Museum.
  11. ^ Darling, Michael (7 May 2014). "Plumbing the Depths of Superflatness". Art Journal.
  12. ^ Shogakukan Daijisen Editorial Staff (1998), Daijisen (大辞泉) (Dictionary of the Japanese language), Revised Edition. Tokyo: Shogakukan. ISBN 978-4-09-501212-4.
  13. ^ a b "Chiho Aoshima | Artspace". Artspace. Retrieved 2015-04-21.
  14. ^ a b "Chiho_Aoshima biography". Archived from the original on 2015-04-07. Retrieved 2015-04-07.

External links[edit]