Chiho Aoshima will be the first artist exhibited on the Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall at the Institute of Contemporary Art's new waterfront building, opening December 10, 2006. The Art Wall is dedicated to monumental, site-specific works by leading contemporary artists, commissioned annually. Located along the eastern interior wall of the museum's glass-enclosed lobby, the most public space in the museum, the Art Wall will be visitors' first encounter with art work as they enter the building. Aoshima, a Tokyo-born, largely self-taught artist, is known for digitally-rendered drawings, animations, sculptures, and large-scale murals. Her mural, entitled The Divine Gas, will be on view December 10, 2006, through October 28, 2007.

"Chiho Aoshima's mural will be a captivating welcome to ICA visitors," says Jill Medvedow, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art. "It will not only offer a taste of the exceptional art on view in the galleries, it will offer an experience of contemporary art for visitors who simply want to shop, eat, or enjoy a performance."

Aoshima has drawn attention for her mind-bending, monumental murals, drawn on a Macintosh G4 computer and printed on adhesive vinyl. The murals often shift dramatically in perspective and scale-foreground and background are confused, twisted, and compressed in her fantastical work. Aoshima combines vibrant colors and botanical details in graphic, dream-like scenes of supernatural worlds and their inhabitants.

"In her work, Aoshima combines seemingly opposing forces in a breathtaking manner," says Emily Moore, Assistant Curator at the ICA. "She brings together the natural and the supernatural, life and death, the beautiful and the gothic."

The Divine Gas, Aoshima's work for the ICA, depicts a giant girl lying in a lush landscape. The setting seems idyllic and serene-butterflies flutter, a deer nestles near her foot, a couple frolics hand-in-hand. Meanwhile, a billowing cloudscape, lorded over by a genie creature, emerges from her bottom. A few figures sit nestled in the clouds, while others tumble toward the ground. With its blend of darkness and light, fantasy and humor, Aoshima's mural promises to delight visitors from the moment they enter the new ICA.

Aoshima got her start as a computer technician in artist Takashi Murakami's Warhol-inspired art factory, KaiKai Kiki, where she still works supervising his design staff. Aoshima's work can be seen in relation to that of her mentor, displaying the two-dimensionality and exaggerated flatness of much contemporary Japanese art and pop culture. Aoshima has developed her own distinctive practice and imagery, however, and points to a diverse group of influences ranging from the human body and National Geographic magazine to cemeteries and weather patterns.

Chiho Aoshima was born in 1974 in Tokyo, Japan, where she currently lives and works. She received a degree in economics from Hosei University in Tokyo. Aoshima has been included in numerous group exhibitions including Ecstasy: In and About Altered States at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2005); the 54th Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2004-05); the Liverpool Biennial (2002); and Superflat, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2001). This fall, she will have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Lyon, France, as well as an installation in the London Underground's Gloucester Station. 

Funding for Chiho Aoshima's The Divine Gas has been provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and The Japan Foundation New York Office.

Scheduled to open on December 10 2006, the new ICA, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is the first art museum to be built in Boston in almost 100 years. One of New England's most vibrant cultural institutions, the ICA will be the cultural centerpiece of the waterfront and one of the city's most recognized architectural landmarks.

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