March 26 – April 22, 2011
Open hours: 12:00 – 20:00  closed on Mondays

MEM is please to present Naturalis Historia by Chiyuki Sakagami. Sometimes Sagami’s work is introduced as ‘Outsider Art.’ But what is the criteria for work to be categorized as such? This exhibition contributes to the debate of where to draw the boundary between Contemporary Art and ‘Outsider Art.’ Sakagami’s artistic background is not the driving force behind the creative universe she pursues that defies categorizations of east and west, classic and contemporary, or even literature and music. Her approach is more biological.


The works in Naturalis Historia were drawn in blue ink on Arches paper over the past two years. Sakagami the illusionist depicts views of her inner world filled with her zoetic and azoic friends. The viewer is introduced to birds, her favorite animal; protocells, microorganisms and minerals thought to be the origin of life; mythological animals like the black tortoise and the vermilion bird, guardians of two of the four cardinal directions of the Chinese constellations; and creatures that will come into being in a post-human future described in Dougal Dixon’s The Future is Wild. Some drawings contain indecipherable texts, perhaps these encoded messages connect organically and evolve to create a universe in and of themselves. Fortunately, the titles of the work provide a hint to their meaning; there are references to the Man’yoshu, Japan’s oldest collection of poems, and modern music. Almost a reminder of the first lines that a child might draw, these works have a wealth of undercurrents and explore the mystery of the meaning of life and its origins.


Sakagami’s delicate lines run freely, almost magically. Their simplicity teaches us the majesty of human creativity. We hope that you can experiences Chiyuki Sakagami’s Naturalis Historia in person. In addition to the 32 drawings in Naturalis Historia we will also present a few etchings and works in watercolor.