Specimen of emotions (June.2009)

In my work, I evoke the varied emotions and weaknesses inhabiting the human heart by presenting them in the form of insects.
Human emotions and weaknesses are like insects. Jealousy and loneliness always come along, seemingly out of nowhere, and take abode in the heart like a parasite. Before one realizes it, the jealousy or loneliness has multiplied and commenced eating and manipulating one’s heart from the inside out. Even an emotion normally staying deep in the heart will, at some moment, appear on the surface-as if emerging from a pupa-and spread its wings.
On the other hand, when we observe particular emotions and weaknesses from different angles and try touching them, we start to notice how interesting and attractive each one is. Even varieties of emotion that people see as negative or unhealthy reveal aspects of charm on closer observation. I find them adorable, these emotions and weaknesses that sometimes peep out and show their faces.
Kawagoe Yurie
(Translated from Japanese to English : Brian Amstutz)

No human being is perfect. I think everyone has various negative aspects such as shortcomings somewhere, and also has embarrassing memories of past and failures that cannot be told to others. In this day and age, I am very afraid that as soon as we find even the slightest negativity in another person, we will immediately dislike or reject that person, or demand too much from others to be perfect and human without flaws. I believe that "living" is to look forward hard while having various negative parts in the mind and memories.

I myself am by no means a "good person." I've always had a complex about that. When I learned about someone's good deeds or how good their personality was, I often blamed myself and compared them with others, saying, "I can't be like that," or "I wouldn't be able to say or do something like that."

Therefore, I creates works with the hope that he will be able to accept the weak and dark parts hidden in himself and others.
For this reason, I try to express all the "insects" that express human emotions and weaknesses in my works in beautiful and adorable ways.

Kawagoe Yurie approaches production by first imagining “a human emotion taking form as an insect.” Her concept, in this sense, is opposite to “personifying” non-human things by giving them human characteristics; in her case, she has established a style of giving strikingly apt insect forms to human sensibilities. Then, in specimen of cowards (2013), after embodying normally hard-to-distinguish emotions in richly illusionistic insect forms, she categorizes and arrays them for display in a specimen box, thereby taking her art into a beautiful new realm. An artwork composed of three foldable panels, it also resembles a triptych altarpiece. The human themes, seemingly placed in an altarpiece for conducting religious rites, evoke humanity’s original sin and its consequences: suffering, the deceits of the passions, absurd death, and the vanity of life. In the insects of Yowamushi Specimens, we sense truth-the ability to poke fun at our pessimistic views of the world.
In dying of coward (2015) an insect’s process of sublimation is depicted serially as in a scroll painting. One is brought to mind of a kusozu painting of the body’s decay in nine stages. Here, however, an insect of emotion fades and transforms, strikingly, into a blooming flower in what might be called a triptych.
In her new work, cowards that have a clown (2017), Kawagoe arrays specimens of comical emotions of flattery. The larvae, moreover, grow large without maturing and forming pupae. The Japanese community, which takes form even when mature adults are not present, is peculiar. In a certain sense, it can also be considered a high-level matured society. If things continue this way, the Japanese will not only mature but also degenerate and deteriorate. As people grow, they foster insects in their injured, worried, and suffering hearts. The insects hide their weakness behind comical masks and move through our world without ever spreading their wings.

Tatematsu Yumiko

(Translated from Japanese to English : Brian Amstutz)
(Leaflet: “Aperto 07 KAWAGOE Yurie” Translated from Japanese to English : Brian Amstutz)


1987 Born in Toyama, Japan

2013 Master.Graduate School of Art and Design, University of Toyama

Selected Solo Exhibition

2023 Mito Keisei Department store
2022   Kosugi Exhibition Hall
Rempah rempah
Mito Keisei Department store
2020 Hanshin Department store Umeda main store
2017   APERTO 07 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art ,Kanazawa
ARTBOX152 Nishida Museum,
2012   Ginza Surugadai Gallery,

Selected Group Exhibition

2019   "Ascending Art Annual Vol.3" Singing life, swelling heart
     Spiral Garden (Aoyama) Sponsored by: Wacoal Art Center Co., Ltd.

    JCC | Art Exhibition at the Embassy of Japan in Singapore

2013 Participating every year in the Biennale TOYAMA (formerly known as the Taikoyama Biennale), with exhibitions held annually since 2017 at the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art, Uchiyama Residence, and the Toyama Canal Kansui Park. Prior to 2017, the event took place at Taikoyama Land.

Selected Award

2022 The 3rd Tagawa Art Biennale
     (Fukuoka Tagawa City Museum of Art) Excellence Award
2014   Honorable Mention Award of "Japanese Painting 2014"
(Nagai Art Gallary organized)
Asahi Printing Award of Art Fair Toyama 2014
New Face Award of "The 88th Kokuten Exhibition"
     Enrolled in Kokugakai until 2019
2013   Kyoichi Tsuzuki Award of "Geibun 4" , University of Toyama,
Graduate Exhibition
2011   Taro Igarashi Award of "Geibun 2" , University of Toyama,
Graduate Exhibition
Incentive Award of "The 85th Kokuten Exhibition"
     Selected Shell Art Award 2011

Selected media

2022   Imizu City Cable Network TV "THE COLORS ~Color your life~
     Episode 7 Artist Yurie Kawagoe"
2020    Published in the August 15 issue of "Big Issue Japan Version"
2019   NHK WORLD "DESIGN TALKS plus" Insects appearance
      Monthly Art September issue special feature "Mushi and Art
     Similarity (Fractal)"


2022   Sponsored by the Kosugi Town Development Council
     "Parent-Child Workshop Let's Make a Heart Bug by Yurie Kawagoe"
2020   TAD workshop for parents and children sponsored by Toyama
      Prefectural Museum of Art Lecturer at "Let's make with parents and
     children! Kokoro no Mushi and its house".
2018   Hakken and Adventure Project "Theme: Kokoro / Musi"
     (Lecturer at the school corporation Ibi Kindergarten).
2016   At the Takaoka City Museum of Art Tomo no Kai event "Adult Clay Play"
Serve as a lecturer.
Asahi Printing Co., Ltd., in the public collection
There is a school corporation, Ibi Kindergarten, etc.

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