If a tree in a forest…

photo by Manabu KANAI


2021.8.07- 8.22

Just as one’s “own self” can be established only after acknowledging the existence of “others” in the life, just as one’s “own cultural background” can be reconsidered by looking at “different cultures” in the world, in order to establish a truly global consciousness in our so-called “global society”, we may need to look at the globe from a different perspective, such as a “different globe”.

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?” is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and perception. It is said to be a question posed by the Irish philosopher and clergyman George Berkeley (1685 - 1753).

Can “I” exist without “you”? Can “art” exist in a world without humans, the subject of perception?

Globalized humans are melting the south polar ice, burning tropical rainforests, and debating the definition of a new geological era. AI is running / runs along internal sensors. The logical choice produced by the aggregation of information, and the eventual arrival of the singularity, is just starting to shine a light at the feet of humanity. How should we deal with this unprecedented situation of global reality?

“Cosmopolitan” is a serial exhibition that is designed to encourage us to think as citizens of Earth. In this second session, titled “If a tree falls in a forest…” at the gallery HIGURE 17-15 cas in Nishi-Nippori, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo, we will introduce the works of Manabu Kanai, Mizuki Kajihara, Sae Takahashi, and Jun’ichiro ISHII.

at HIGURE 17-15.cas
3-17-15 Nishinippori, Arakawa, Toyko, Japan


design by Kazuya KIKKAWA

Jun’ichiro ISHII

By changing the background information, the Signifiant (Signifier) and Signifié (Signified) are temporarily destroyed. Ishii creates his works as if he were reconstructing these deconstructed Signe (Symbols). Ishii has no particular style in terms of methodology or material, but in each case, the inspiration from a place is visualized in its most honest form. These works resemble an unusual interpretation of the "everyday" or, more simply a kind of cultural sketch.


Manabu KANAI

While composing things that have their own (multiple) specificity, the practice of art itself is positioned as the creation of certain languages (format) as prostheses (the externalization of body and memory) to explore the peculiar temporal and spatial dynamism that is generated upon the moment such languages are invented.



Kajihara works mainly with Western classical music, attempting to destroy and reconstruct rigid musical scores by way of physical experience. Stemming from an interest in replacing symbols with new information, she imagines new possibilities for contemporary art by connecting the modern and the classical through music.



Takahashi finds aesthetic qualities in the cracks and stains of walls and floors, sublimating them into abstract paintings. She does not use brushes but instead applies paintb directly to the canvas with her fingers, hands, or paint tubes, channeling energy from her body.