Atsushi Kaga - That sounds absolutely normal, 2014 (detail)

Atsushi Kaga

Japan 1978

Sculpture, Painting, Drawing

Atsushi Kaga
Atsushi Kaga
June 13, 2017

Atsushi Kaga is a Japanese visual artist, working in mixed media, painting, drawing, animation and sculpture. He is best known for his practice steeped in popular culture. Born in 1978 in Tokyo, the artist got his education at the Tama Art Institute in Tokyo, graduating in 1997, and at the National College of Art and Design – NCAD in Dublin, where he got his BA in Fine Art Painting in 2005. Atsushi also got a diploma at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, Cork, in 2001.

Atsushi Kaga - David Bowie, 2012
Atsushi Kaga – David Bowie, 2012


Inspired by the Japanese manga culture, the world of modern toys and electronics, and a combination of text and surreal reference, Kaga uses his unique cast of characters to tell quite profound stories about personal experiences. Behind the playful and surreal facade of Atsushi Kaga’s misleadingly simple work lurks much darker territory wherein the artist confronts serious issues of cultural politics, sexuality, death, paranoia, social relationships, the complex search for personal identity and the daily philosophical crises of the harsh realities of the world.

Atsushi Kaga’s work deals with issues of cultural politics, sexuality, death, paranoia, and many others

Atsushi Kaga - Sleeping Among Drunken Bold Japanese Business Men, 2010
Atsushi Kaga – Sleeping Among Drunken Bold Japanese Business Men, 2010

Usacchi – The Artist’s Alter Ego

The darkly playful world of Kaga’s oeuvre is inhabited by a variety of colorful anthropomorphized characters. The cast is led by Usacchi – a cute but a little mischievous rabbit, the artist’s alter ego. Besides Usacchi, his panda father and kangaroo mother are, for example, all facets of the artist’s personae. Bunny depicts Kaga’s silly side, while Kumacchi – a drug-addicted bear injured in a car accident – presents his dark side and the forever-weeping Panda, his melancholic side.

Kaga’s world is inhabited by a variety of colorful anthropomorphized characters

Left Atsushi Kaga - Mental health = Physical health, 2014, Right Atsushi Kaga - Mt Fuji and aubergines, 2014
Atsushi Kaga – Mental Health = Physical Health, 2014 (Left) / Mt Fuji and Aubergines, 2014 (Right)

Montblanc Young Artist World Patronage

Kaga is one of the artists supported by the Montblanc Young Artist World Patronage. The project carries the idea of giving young and upcoming artists the opportunity to present their artwork to a broader and international audience and to the art scene. Therefore, more than 400 Montblanc boutiques worldwide are transformed into art galleries and present one particular artwork simultaneously for a couple of weeks.

Left Atsushi Kaga - This way cat, 2014, Right Atsushi Kaga - Polar Bear, 2014
Atsushi Kaga – This Way Cat, 2014 (Left) / Polar Bear, 2014 (Right)


Kaga has participated in many one-man and collective exhibitions at a variety of international institutions, including mother’s tankstation, Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Nicolas Krupp Gallery, Basel, Switzerland, Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland, Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Fenton Gallery, Cork, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin, Sandra and David Bakalar Gallery, MassArt, Boston, and Location One, New York.

He is represented by Galerie Fluegel-Roncak in Nürnberg, Germany and mother’s tankstation limited in Dublin, Ireland.

Atsushi Kaga lives and works between New York and Dublin, Ireland.

Featured image: Atsushi Kaga – That sounds absolutely normal, 2014 (detail)
All images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2017It happens to be - Aya Ito and Atsushi KagaPallas Projects/Studios, DublinGroup
2015I Am Here with YouJack Hanley Gallery, NYSolo
2015Friend of the DevilJack Hanley Gallery, NYGroup
2014Sed Tantum Dic Verbo (Just Say The Word)Blain-Southern, LondonGroup
2013-14Happily Skipping Backwardsmother’s tankstation, DublinSolo
2012Art Basel MiamiArt Positions with mother’s tankstationSolo
2012I love those paintings (art, natural and social science)mother’s tankstation, DublinGroup
2012One and ManyLocation One, New YorkGroup
2011Art Futures - Art HK 11 solo presentationHong KongSolo
2011AstaticSandra and David Bakalar Gallery, MassArt, Boston, USAGroup
2010Rest with us in peacemother's tankstation, DublinSolo
2010Atsushi KagaKantor Art, L.A. Solo
2010Project Room, Artists Residency ProgrammeIrish Museum of Modern ArtSolo
2009Why can we keep going forward? Because we forget the problem of yesterdayGaleria LEME, São Paulo, BrazilSolo
2008I want to give love to socially neglected parts of you, that is my missionButler Gallery, KilkennySolo
2008Atsushi KagaNicolas Krupp Gallery, Basel, SwitzerlandSolo
2007Bunny’s Darkness and Other Storiesmother’s tankstation, DublinSolo
2007TimelinesMermaid Centre, Bray, Co. WicklowGroup
2007Visual FictionsFenton Gallery, CorkGroup
2006The Square Root of DrawingTemple Bar Gallery, DublinGroup
2006Getting on Mother’s NervesMother’s Tankstation, DublinGroup
2006UtopiasEigse Carlow, CarlowGroup
2005A Moment in TimeTemple Bar Gallery, DublinGroup