Uchida Reina solo exhibition, Dreams of Cro-magnon "Where is Reina ? " Shimokitazawa Arts Edition

Uchida Reina《Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon“I'm going to El Castillo starting tomorrow!”》2022, paper, pencil, wood

March 22 - April 7, 2024

Closed on Mon, Tue and Wed.
*reception:Mar. 23, 5-7pm

Talk event
March 24, 2024 3-5pm
O JUN (painter) × Usukubo Kaoru (painter) x Uchida Reina

*Anyone can participate in the reception and talk event.

Talk event, O JUN (painter) × Usukubo Kaoru (painter) x Uchida Reina

Shimokitazawa Arts is pleased to announce Uchida Reina solo exhibition, Dreams of Cro-magnon "Where is Reina ? " Shimokitazawa Arts Edition. Uchida was born in Aichi pref. 1993. She graduated from Nagoya University of Arts, Western Painting Course 2 in 2017 and Tokyo University of the Arts, Graduate School of Fine Arts, Department of Oil Painting (Oil Painting Laboratory 1) in 2019.

Immediately after Uchida enrolled in graduate school at Tokyo University of the Arts, her professor told her, "Throw away everything you've ever done. Start from scratch." She had no idea how to proceed with her work. Therefore, she began spending time in a pitch-black room by covering the storage room in the classroom with a black sheet.
While living in darkness, Uchida continued to struggle and wonder, "How can I create light?''. Then, by making curtains on a blank wall, she came up with the idea that she could imagine a "window" in the mind that let "light" shine in, and she began making curtains. The "Dreams of Cro-Magnon" series of "Curtain" works with cave paintings as motifs were born by imagining herself in a pitch-black room with the Cro-Magnon people of the Stone Age who lived in pitch-black caves.

Furthermore, Uchida began drawing the pencil comic "Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon" as a view from the "window" in the "Dreams of Cro-Magnon" series. The main character is Reina, a Cro-Magnon woman who is a reflection of Uchida herself, and the story is about Reina, who loves painting and aspiring to become a cave painter. The characters are modeled after Uchida's family, friends, teachers, etc. Based on Uchida's own experiences, the story depicts Reina struggling, growing, and pursuing her own expression in a pop atmosphere. In the summer of 2023, the first volume of "Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon" was released by Art Diver, a publisher specializing in art, and is available at bookstores and museum shops.

This solo exhibition combines the curtain work "Dreams of Cro-Magnon", which is based on the subsequent story of Volume 1 of "Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon" and is connected to a landscape painting depicting the scenery that the characters in "Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon" are looking at. We will introduce her new works and original drawings of manga. Please enjoy the world of Uchida Rena , who continues to express her own world through curtains, oil paintings, and manga while looking at the Stone Age and modern times.

Uchida Reina solo exhibition, Dreams of Cro-magnon "Where is Reina ? " Shimokitazawa Arts Edition, installation view

Artist Statement

When I was in graduate school, there was a time when I spent my time in a pitch-black room. The light was so dim that I couldn't even make out the distinct colors of the oil paint. But I felt that I had to create my own "light" no matter where I was. The days I spent there felt like I was traveling back in time to the Stone Age, when humans lived in caves.
In that dark space, I wanted a "window". I wanted to imagine a "window". I feel that the Cro-Magnon people of that time also wanted a "window." I feel like they were looking for light...dreams and hopes, just like I experienced. Even if an artificial sun were created, people would still create "windows." The work that was born from this process was "Dreams of Cro-Magnon".

"Dreams of Cro-Magnon" is painted using oil paint on earth-colored crushed velor fabric that resembles a cave painting. It's wavy wall like a cave... curtain. I thought that if I made curtains on a modern, blank white wall, I would be able to imagine a "window."
For me now, the state in which the curtains are open and the state in which they are closed are the same as seeing the world. I want to cherish both. For example, it is similar to opening and closing your eyelids. When we are awake, we see what is in front of us, but when we are asleep, our dreams are constructed from the events that come into our vision. It complements both the images in your head and reality, and is a way to see the world.
The same goes for curtains. I can imagine a window that is invisible when the curtains are closed. I realized that when the curtains are open, I can decorate the window with my favorite picture or picture to represent the view I want to see at that time. You can imagine and create infinite "windows"...! I continue to make works with this feeling of joy in mind.

Uchida Reina solo exhibition, Dreams of Cro-magnon "Where is Reina ? " Shimokitazawa Arts Edition, installation view

I started drawing a pencil comic "Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon", which I looked as a "window" when I opened the velor cave curtains. This is the story of a Cro-Magnon girl who becomes a cave painter. The main character is me 20,000 years ago. I tore up my sketchbook and started drawing with a pencil.
The main character, Reina, is troubled by the fact that even if she draws images that come to her mind on the ground, on the beach, or on trees, they will disappear due to the waves, rain, animals, and the fury of nature. The situation continues that she can't show it to her lover Taisuke even if she want to. She wants to show it somehow! The story begins when she head to El Castillo Cave, a sacred place for art, in search of a way to make drawings permanent.

The story focuses on the Cro-Magnon people who tried to preserve their image in an era when their images were disappearing, and the troubles they had are the same worries we have. What's important to me is "how to draw the present and how to live in the present." When I'm worried or having a hard time, I receive wisdom, dreams, and courage from the people of Cro-Magnon.

Ever since I started drawing this pencil comic, it has become commonplace for me to go back and forth between the present and the past in my daily life. For a while after the first volume was published, I was looking back and forth between now and 20,000 years ago, looking at the Cro-Magnon characters that appear in the second volume.

Reina went to El Castillo and doesn't came back. When the rainstorm and thunderstorms got worse, her boyfriend Taisuke started to get worried and started running from place to place, trying to get to El Castillo. He was desperately looking for it in the heavy rain! He tried his best to keep running. Even though he was feeling anxious, he was running like crazy,

“Where is here??”

It looks like he came to Shimokitazawa Arts in 2024.

The "window" seen from the velor cave curtain work "Dream of Cro-Magnon". For this exhibition, I created a "window" by drawing on canvas the scenery from 20,000 years ago, when Taisuke ran as hard as he could to find Reina. Yeah? ...It seems like there are some places that Taisuke doesn't know about.

In any case, I just hope that he can meet Reina safely.

Uchida Reina

Uchida Reina solo exhibition, Dreams of Cro-magnon "Where is Reina ? " Shimokitazawa Arts Edition, installation view
Uchida Reina solo exhibition, Dreams of Cro-magnon "Where is Reina ? " Shimokitazawa Arts Edition, installation view
Uchida Reina《Dreams of Cro-Magnon “El Castillo Sea”》, 2024, velor fabric, wood, canvas, oil, pins, hooks, 91×78×14cm
Uchida Reina《Dreams of Cro-Magnon "El Castillo mountain"》, 2024, velor fabric, wood, canvas, oil, pins, hooks, 54×61×14cm
Uchida Reina《Dreams of Cro-Magnon“Landscape with mammoths”》, 2024, velor fabric, wood, canvas, oil, pins, hooks, 41×40×10cm
Uchida Reina《Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon“Ekain hill, night”》, 2024, paper, colored pencil, watercolor, wood, frame, 40×31×4.5cm

During this exhibition, the first volume of "Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon" will be on sale at our gallery. In addition, it could be purchased at Shimokitazawa's famous bookstores "Bibibi" and "B&B."
This comic was named "Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon (= It all started with Cro-Magnon.)" because it was inspired by the initial impulse when Uchida started drawing manga and the cave paintings which are the oldest paintings in existence. The sketchbooks are torn out one by one and all drawn in pencil. Although it is a manga, each piece was created with the strength of being a painting in mind, and not only the illustrations but also the story are very attractive. It will be particularly appealing not only to those involved in the arts, but also to those who have aspired to some form of self-expression. The crowdfunding campaign she conducted to collect publication costs received a lot of support, and the work she did as a return project, "You too are a Cro-Magnon⭐♪! Portrait," was well received by many people.

Volume 1 of "Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon", which aims to "realize pencil manga", was published by Art Diver Publishing, a publishing company specializing in art, and is so realistic that you feel like you're getting pencil dust on your hands every time you turn the page. The texture is achieved through high-quality printing. And before you know it, you'll be transported to a world 20,000 years ago, and you'll join Reina on a journey to find your own expression. As you enjoy communicating with a variety of characters drawn in pop style and feeling Reina's joys, angers, and sorrows together, be careful not to burst into tears of emotion. We are sure that you will enjoy the exhibition even more if you read Volume 1 of "Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon" before viewing this exhibition. Of course, please read it after viewing this solo exhibition!

-Uchida Reina "Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon" https://artdiver.tokyo/product/hajikuro

-Author interview:Uchida Reina "A dream that connects us with the Cro-Magnon people"

-"Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon" instagram https://www.instagram.com/hajimariwa_cromagnon/

Uchida Reina

Born in Aichi pref. Japan, 1993
2017 BFA, Nagoya University of Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, Western painting
2019 MFA, Graduate School of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts, Oil painting

favorite artists:Tezuka Osamu, Walt Disney, Edvard Munch

Solo exhibition

2023 "Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon Publication Commemorative Exhibition , I might go to El Castillo tomorrow!” TAKU SOMETANI GALLERY, Tokyo
2022 "Dream of Cro-Magnon" TAKU SOMETANI GALLERY, Tokyo
2021 "Dream of Cro-Magnon" HIGURE 17-15 cas, Tokyo
2020 "Dream of Cro-Magnon" SEIBU SHIBUYA Art meets Life, Tokyo

Selected group exhibition

"Expression Vol.3" Changting gallery, Tokyo
"Misawa Atsuhiko, ANIMALS/Multi-dimensions" Chiba City Museum of Art, Chiba pref., Japan
※Providing the "You too are a Cro-Magnon⭐♪! Portrait" work drawing Mr. Misawa Atsuhiko.
"Night Before the Big Break in Kanazawa' Now selection ~ Night Before the Big Break'" ASTER, Kanazawa
"Night Before the Big Break : The Next Generation of Artists" GINZA SIX Artglorieux of Tokyo, Tokyo
"SHIBUYA STILE vol.13" SEIBU SHIBUYA gallery, Tokyo


Kamiyama Foundation Art Support Programme scholarship student
Nagoya University of Arts Student Award, Chairman's Award
Nagoya University of Arts Graduation Work Exhibition, Award for Excellence in Graduation Work


2023 the first volume of "Hajimari wa Cro-Magnon" Art Diver Publishing