Have you ever seen a ghost?

Gensho Sugawara, Shinnosuke Tojo
January 15 - February 26, 2022

Tokyo International Gallery is pleased to present “Have you ever seen a ghost?”, a two-person exhibition by Gensho Sugahara and Shinnosuke Tojo, opening on the 15th January.

Born in Tokyo in 1993, Gensho Sugahara graduated from Tokyo Zokei University in 2016 with a major in sculpture, and completed his postgraduate studies at the same university in 2006. His work is based on the theme of “texture and tactility”, and he uses FRP (fiber reinforced plastic) and clay as the main materials for his sculptures. His work emphasizes the slight tactility and anonymity of the body, and is based on the symbolic representation of the modern human body, clothed in consumerist fashion, encompassing the shifting surface of our times and the elusiveness of reality. In this exhibition, in addition to life-size full-body sculptures, the artist has installed new sculptures over 3 meters high, in an attempt to create an exhibition that emphasizes spatiality.

Born in Nagano prefecture in 1978, Shinnosuke Tojo graduated from Tokyo Zokei University in 2004 with a degree in comparative art and completed a research course there in 2005. Shinnosuke Tojo embodies his own mental landscapes and unconscious imaginary images by applying scratches and rust of various sizes to the surfaces of metal plates and industrial products. His work is not limited to painting, but also includes sculptures and installations. In this exhibition, Tojo will present 7 new works.

Sugahara says, “These days we are bombarded with information that is so distant from us that the reality of what is going on in the world is somewhat tenuous, and we are unable to fully grasp the reality. It is no secret that the amount of information available to us today is far greater than we can handle, and that we are in a state of confusion. The information we need and want is lost in the fog, and no matter how hard we try to reach for it, there is no certainty. Sometimes it affects everything around us, and even our immediate reality seems to be in jeopardy.”
“On the other hand,” says Tojo, “I feel a distance between myself and ‘what I see’. From concrete everyday scenes, we see abstract mental landscapes, and by trying to superimpose them on society, we create artworks and recognize their existence. In his work, Tojo expresses his awareness of issues that are also related to the theory of qualia.

Although the two artists have different views on the same issues, there is a certain harmony between them. What they have in common is an attitude of forming figurative and figurative objects while questioning what is still invisible, or what is visible only to them, in the midst of all the information, materials and phenomena of today. While the focus of their work is the “surface” of the object, they highlight the inner reality that contrasts with that surface. We are the ones who see the surface of the objects they observe and shape, and we are the ones who see a new world in it.

How do we answer the question “Have you ever seen a ghost?
By immersing ourselves in the sensations that appear in the world that the two artists create, and the sensations that cannot be touched, we are exploring the distance between ourselves and the work, the material, and the world.


I use the plastic technique of sculpture to reflect on the existence of people and things. Nowadays, when we are inundated with information that is far away from us, the reality of worldly events is somewhat diluted and we cannot fully grasp our reality. This sometimes affects the events around us, and even the reality in front of us seems to be in danger. It’s frustrating to see the surface of things and not get to the essence. What is it that I am seeing, what is it that I am perceiving? I will try to answer this question by using the tactile act of plastic art and a 360°perspective.

I sometimes feel a distance between myself and “what I see”, and an abstract mental landscape appears from a concrete everyday landscape in a sense of pareidolia (*1). In contrast to a colouring book, I visualize the outline by tracing it through the messy colours, and I recognize the existence by superimposing and reconstructing the sometimes-visible distortions in the air, the mental landscape and the society.
The image created by light and shadow is absolute, but without it, matter can be denied to exist. How can we be sure that what we do not see is there in the first place? And can we be sure of that? 
We hope to create a space where the sensation of the untouchable can raise doubts in our minds.

1) Pareidolia is a kind of psychological phenomenon. It refers to the phenomenon of receiving a visual or auditory stimulus and having an image of a familiar pattern in one’s mind, even though it is not there.

Contributed by Keisuke Mori (Curator, Chiba City Museum of Art)


「Have you ever seen a ghost?」

ARTISTGensho Sugahara, Shinnosuke Tojo
DATEJanuary 15 – February 26, 2022
12:00−18:00 (Tue-Sat) *Closed on Sun, Mon and Public Holidays
VENUETokyo International Gallery
TERRADA Art Complex II 2F, 1-32-8 Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, 140-0002 Japan