水木塁 Rui Mizuki

水木塁 Rui Mizuki

Create fossils with cyanotype technique to project deep surfaces


Mizuki's artworks give viewers powerful impressions. It is not just a beautiful image, but it is because it reflects the current situation of the world. "I was doing skateboarding and DJing, and they are like my subcultures. Because I spent my teenage in these subcultures, my cultural values and other perspectives are basically sophisticated.” His artworks reflect the situation in the current world and they are impassive and thoroughly guarded.


"I basically do not have any particular styles for my work. If I have to say something, there is a central point, and something like a weight hangs down from there, and it is spinning around. I feel like my work has been created and dropped in the tracks." The center of each work is only one. I don't care about the method, but I put more values on what I express. In this exhibition, there are exhibits like photographic work using the technique of blueprinting, which is "Portrait of weeds and geology of the cities". "Blueprints are processed by placing things directly on paper and exposing them to light, so the image becomes tactile. It doesn’t go through film and it's more like burning directly onto paper. You can feel that things are on top of it because the traces on the paper are very clear. I think it's very similar to what I'm doing in painting."

He says that for this artwork he referred how fossils are formed "This series in this exhibition are more materially. For example, some people say that the cross section looks like zebrawood and looks very heavy." For example, an animal carcass on sandy soil gets more sand on top of it and it gradually gets pressured. And then, bone component bond with potassium carbonate in seawater or soil component, and a fossil is formed. "The way fossils are formed are similar to the replaced images of light and shadow which is exactly what we do on a blueprint." His artwork looks like an image of what has stopped forever.


Mizuki decided to become an artist because he went to a private exhibition at first time when he was in his fourth year at collage. When he was in college, he worked on becoming a furniture maker while learning lacquer work. But when he joined the light music club and met some friends in the Fine Arts, he had encountered contemporary art. Then, he was gradually attracted to it.
"In my first private exhibition, a person wrote a review about me, and that review was published in the rookies monthly review of Bijutsutecho (art magazine). I realized that if I work as an artist, I can be on the magazine and I felt it in real." His artworks he creates naturally became towards contemporary art.


Mizuki felt that he didn’t learn contemporary art enough to become a professional artist. He wanted to learn more in sculpture at a graduate school, but he regretfully didn’t get admitted to the graduate school. He got a job at a web design company to get an experience. He worked at the company as a designer during the day and he worked on his artworks at night. He had continued this lifestyle for four years. The biggest turning point was when he presented his artwork at an exhibition at Yokohama Museum of Art. "For some reason, I was with the famous artists who work internationally... I didn't realize how grateful it was until right before the exhibition. But once I looked at the work in the exhibition, and joined receptions and lectures formally, my desire that I want to perform in this field became stronger. I left the company which I worked for four years and got admitted to a doctoral program at a graduate school."

"The lacquer work I exhibited at that time was my artwork with a big reflection. I have a big studio now, but I didn’t have one at that time. So, I used a room in my school without a permission and work on it. (laugh) Although I was able to make something I was satisfied with, I noticed something. The work was one of my series that I had been working on since I was in the undergraduate. There were variations in sizes and wave designs, but I noticed that I don’t have any other variations." Then, he tried to create his next figurative artwork by any means. "My reflection artwork is nothing but handling images sculpturally. This idea led me to think about image." It made him realize what Mizuki was particular about was physical thinness. He came up with an idea of photograph as an ultimate thin artwork when he considered whether he show his work as a sculpture or an image, "Photographs are not (conceptually) thick, and they, of course, have thickness of photographic paper to print out, but the images have no physical texture unlike paintings. An ultimate thin and hand-held image is a photograph for me. And I can also improve this idea and I think it would be interesting to think of it as a sculpture of variable size. A photograph is attractive language that can be critical of the existing art history and media.”


Mizuki told us quite honestly that he is skeptical of the trends in the world and he sees the situation objectively as if he sees it through a gap. "When we have some doubts in trends and swells of the world and say something, I feel that there are surprisingly few genres that appreciate these words appropriately. However, I think contemporary art is one of the few genres and it supports us." His subculture background makes his current work more powerful. Mizuki says about his future, "I will not stop doing something at this difficult situation. I ‘m not currently thinking about stopping for a while. Rather than that, I am conscious of doing it positively." I just observe what I'm interested in and take it into my work. Feeling Mizuki's curiosity about things and passion for his work, we can expect his future works more.

The concept video created by Alina Zhdanova

Rui Mizuki

1983 Born in Kyoto. Contemporary Artist
2006 Graduated Department of Crafts, Urushi Lacquering, Kyoto City University of Arts
2016 Ph.D. of Art, Kyoto City University of Arts, Graduate School of Arts

Focusing on an objectivist skateboarder who is actively involved in the urban environment, he creates works with an interdisciplinary method based on the concepts of physical sense, space, and architecture. While doing so, he considers a new "relationship between social landscape and the body" from keywords such as "labor and pleasure," "violence and hallucination," "connection and division," and "assimilation and dissimilation."

Solo Exhibitions
2019 "Azuma-kudari" WAITINGROOM (Tokyo)
2018 "City mosaic" ARTZONE (Kyoto)
   "C’ s" RMIT PROJECT SPACE(Melbourne, Australia)
2017 "Mirror behind hole : Photography into Sculpture vol.3 Rui MIZUKI" gallery αM (Tokyo)

Group Exhibitions
   "VOCA 2020" The Ueno Royal Museum (Tokyo)
   "Sorezoreno Sansui" KOMAGOME SOKO(Tokyo)
2018 "Compilation of Acts" TOKAS Hongo, Tokyo
2016 "NEO-EDEN" Suzhou Jinji Lake Art Museum (Suzhou,CH)
2015 "Urbanism―Cityscapes/Residences" kanakawanishi Gallery (Tokyo)
   "STEP OUT! New Japanese Photographers" IMA Gallery (Tokyo)
   "NIPPON NOW Junge japanische Kunst und das Rheinland" E.ON (Düsseldorf,Germany)
2013 "flowing urbanity" ART68 (Cologne,Germany)
2012 "KAGEUTSUSHI ―reflections, transition, infection―" @KCUA (Kyoto)
2008 "Double Chronos (Curated by Yuko HASEGAWA seminar)" ZAP (Tokyo)
2007 "Views of Water:From Monet and Taikan to the Present" Yokohama Museum of Art (Kanagawa)