Tomoko Konoike

■Comments on Participating in Roppongi Art Night

You never know if you will see the stray cat you just met on the street again tomorrow. So, just to be safe, I whisper in my heart, “See you later,” but only we humans can make promises with words. We part as we are, and chances are we will probably never see each other again. However, one day, unexpectedly, our paths may cross. At times like this, I feel that “en” is the most untranslatable and animalistic of all human languages. The cat that disappeared will sometimes show up unexpectedly on the side of the road. There is no promise, no trust, only fate that connects the two violently like a storm. Language cannot control it. At times like this, I feel that “karma” is the most untranslatable and animalistic of all human languages. In many ways, art is very similar. It seems that we still harbor much of nature’s unknowability in our animal qualities. How much of us is human and how much of us is animal? Are we insects, birds, wind, grass, soil? Roppongi Art Night can become a topography where these boundaries and classifications become blurred as “animal languages” flourish.

Tomoko Konoike


Tomoko Konoike continues to question the fundamentals of art through a variety of media including painting, sculpture, and performance, as well as site-specific expressions realized through travel.
Recent solo exhibitions include Fundamental Violence (2016), Kanagawa Prefectural Hall, The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma / Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Art Encouragement Prize; Fur Story (2018), Leeds Arts University; Hunter Gatherer (2018), Akita Museum of Modern Art, Japan; Chukagari (2020), Artizon Museum / Mainichi Art Prize; Birth of Miru (2022), Takamatsu City Museum of Art.
Group exhibitions include Temporal Turn (2016), Spencer Museum of Art / University of Kansas Museum of Natural History; Japan-Spirits of Nature (2017), Nordic Akbar Museum of Art; ECHOES FROM THE PAST (2018), Sinka Art Museum; Story-makers (2022), Japanese Cultural Centre Sydney. Her publications include Animal Words and picture books (Hatori Shoten).