Kumi Machida honeymoon wih life, 2013
sumi (blue), sumi (brown), pigments, mineral pigments, gold paint, gold leaf, and pencil on kumohada linen paper
162 x 388 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Nishimura Gallery

Three_Persons LR

Kumi Machida
Three Persons, 2003
sumi (blue) and mineral pigments on kumohada linen paper
130.3 x 162 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Nishimura Gallery

Kumi Machida

Kumi Machida depicts haunting biomorphic humans awakening from surreal dream-like states. Her austere brushwork renders a darker nuance to these apparently tranquil beings – layered fine lines sparsely define forms and voids, lending the works a deadpan absurdity. 

Machida’s practice has its roots in traditional Japanese painting in sumi ink on kumohada linen paper, with limited colouring from mineral pigments. Her brushstrokes modulate from delicacy to intensity, bringing an unknown presence into sharp relief with sparing clarity. 

In the work honeymoon with life, two beings are connected, their relationship unclear, their gender ambiguous. The void in their eyes adds to their enigma, distancing the artist from her subject, the art work from the viewer. Conversely, it raises the possibility that these conjoined forms could be a reconciliation of an otherness within the self, or an embracing of differences with others. 

Machida’s explorations of human relationships, self-consciousness and social awareness are expressed in each line – a void drawn within the silence of contemplation. Yet abandoned clues remain, cryptic signifiers, so that perhaps these portrayals of dysfunction, brutality, and displacement bring also a quilt of comfort after waking from a nightmare. 

Born in Gunma, Japan, 1970
Lives and works in Tokyo



BFA in Japanese Painting, Tama Art University, Tokyo

Selected solo exhibitions


Machida Kumi -Painting, Drawing, Print-, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo


New Works, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo


Visions, Ha° gamle prestegard, Nærbø, Norway


Stories from a Cold Country, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo


kestnergesellshaft, Hannover
Takasaki Tower Museum of Art, Gunma
Snow Day, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo


New Works, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo


<à Sade>, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo


Gallery Brocken, Tokyo


Galerie station, Frankfurt
Gallery Kitamura, Tokyo
Shinseido, Tokyo


Art Gallery of Shibuya Seibu Department Store, Tokyo


Amsterdam galleries celebrate the Japanese connection, Gallery ac Witteveen, Amsterdam

Selected group exhibitions


Takahashi Collection: Mirror Neuron, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery
40 Years plus, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo
Exhibition of the Nikkei Nihonga Prize, The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo (’06, ’08, ’12)
Exhibition of PEKO, Hiratsuka Museum of Art, Hiratsuka


Ohara Contemporary at Musabi, Musashino Art University Museum & Library, Tokyo
Synesthesia, AKI Gallery, Taipei


NEW YEAR NEW WORKS, Nishimura Gallery
Nishimura Gallery Collection, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo
Ohara Contemporary, Ohara Museum of Art, Okayama
Wonderful My Art, Kawaguchiko Museum of Art, Yamanashi


Collection, The National Museum of Art, Osaka
ON PAPER 2012, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo
The 35th Anniversary of The National Museum of Art, Osaka: the Allure of the Collection, The National Museum of Art, Osaka
35 YEARS plus, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo
Women In-Between: Asian Women Artists 1984-2012, (tours: Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum, Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, Mie Prefectural Museum)
Zipangu, (tours: Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum, Takasaki Museum of Art, Hachinohe City Museum of Art, Akita Museum of Modern Art)


Mr.I’s Collection Exhibition, Takasaki Museum of Art, Takasaki
The Most Requested Top 30 / 10 Years of Takahashi Collection, Tabloid Gallery, Tokyo
Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art, Japan Society, New York
Art of Our Time,Charity Auction to Benefit the Reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tokyo Bijutsu Club, Tokyo


Garden of Painting, National Museum of Art, Osaka
The Special Exhibition for the 80th Anniversary, Ohara Museum of Art, Okayama
Shinjuku Southern Lights 2010-2011 Artistic ‘LOVE’ Christmas, Takashimaya Times Square & Shinjuku Southern Terrace, Tokyo
DOMANI: The Art of Tomorrow 2010 Exhibition, The National Art Center, Tokyo


Drawings, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo
SEVEN Nishimura Gallery 35th Anniversary, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo


MANGA! Japanske billeder, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk
Neoteny Japan Contemporary Artists After 1990’s-From Takahashi Collection, Kirishima Open-Air Museum, Aira (Tours: Museum of Contemporary Art, Sapporo, The Ueno Royal Museum, The Niigata Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Akita Museum of Modern Art, Yonago City Museum of Art, The Museum of Art, Ehime)
FormIdeaEssenceRhythm, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei


ARKO 2006: Takako Hojo, Kumi Machida, Ohara Museum of Art, Okayama
SEPTEMBER SHOW, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo (’08, ’10, ’12)


MOT Annual 2006 No Border, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo
What is ‘Nihonga’?, Takasaki Tower Museum of Art, Gunma


The Vision of Contemporary Art 2005, The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo (’07)
Childhood Revisited, M.Y. Art Prospects, New York
Summer Show, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo (’06, ’10, ’11, ’13)


Japanese Style Painting: Machida Kumi and Nakamura Kengo, Nishimura Gallery, Tokyo

Awards and Residencies


The 24th Takashimaya Charitable Trust for Art and Cultural Prize


Japanese government overseas study program for artists, Denmark


Grand Prize at The Sovereign Asian Art Prize 2007, Hong Kong
The 4th Jomo Art & Culture Prize


Artist in Residence Kurashiki, Okayama (Ohara Museum of Art)

Public Collections

Museum of Modern Art, New York
Sovereign Asian Art Foundation, Hong Kong
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo
Ohara Museum of Art, Okayama
Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Kagawa
The National Museum of Art, Osaka
BIGI Co., Ltd., Tokyo
Takahashi Collection, Tokyo

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Kumi Machida