Akira Otsubo “The Other Side of the Curtain”

N project Renewal Opening Exhibition

June 9 (Fri), - June 29 (Thu), 2023

N project

NUKAGA GALLERY OSAKA will be changing its name to N project. For our inaugural exhibition, we are thrilled to present Akira Otsubo’s solo exhibition “The Other Side of the Curtain” from June 9 (Fri) to June 29 (Thu), 2023.

Akira Otsubo studied clinical psychology and then studied photography as a form of contemporary art at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (UMPRUM). Since 2017, the artist has been running the “Shadow in the House Project,” which focuses on requisitioned houses and the historical traces associated with them. Through the traces found in the room, this project aims to examine the origins of the transformation of life culture during postwar Japan and the process of acceptance and conflicts of foreign culture that led to the Japanese economic miracle. The artist has been analyzing and researching found photographs, archival videos, as well as official documents, and with specialists from other different fields, she has been creating a body of works by using these materials and photographs taken by herself.

In this project, Otsubo is creating works with a dancer at the residence, based on interviews and research of archival documents. To create photographic works, the artist uses a 4 x 5 camera with long exposure and captures the “shadow” which is the traces of the body (the dancer) wriggling in the room. For its shooting location, Otsubo is drawing attention to the private residences requisitioned by GHQ and has done her research and photography in the past in Okayama, Hiroshima, Tottori, Hyogo, Kyoto, Aichi, Tokyo, and Saitama.

Akira Otsubo, Shadow in the House_Nakano House, 2019
Akira Otsubo, Shadow in the House_Takasaki Memorial House, 2017

After World War II, the occupation forces systematically requisitioned private residences in major Japanese cities; after the residences has been researched, the owners vacated their homes, which were returned after 3-10 years. Traces of these requisitions can be seen in, for example, applied paints on the walls, the replacement of tatami mats with wooden flooring, the installation of electricity and gas facilities, and the maintenance of sewage disposal and heating systems. If we carefully follow these traces, we will realize the fact that these requisitions brought a large impact on the postwar lifestyle in Japan and the fact that it was not done in a single standard but rather in search of the conflict between Japanese and Western styles. After the requisition was lifted, many of these houses were returned to their original owners, but since they are privately owned, many are being demolished, and those who remember the stories of that time are being lost.

The exhibition title “The Other Side of the Curtain” is borrowed from the title of a short story by American mystery writer Helen McCloy (1904-1994). Through photographs and video installations, the exhibition attempts to visualize the traces of the rapid propagation of two cultural systems that used to be separated, caused by the requisition during the postwar. The works will focus on the personal history of the residences which were hidden behind historical facts and politics, as well as visualizing the invisible memories together with it. The latest version of the artist’s video installation, updated this year, will be also exhibiting in addition to the series of photographs “Shadow in the House.”

Please come and visit us at the renewed N project space.

Akira Otsubo “The Other Side of the Curtain”


Akira Otsubo


June 9 (Fri) – 29 (Thu), 2023 Hours: Weekday 10:00-17:00  Saturday 11:00-18:00  *Closed on Sunday Opening Reception: June 9 (Fri), 2023, 16:00-18:00