Mizuki Nishiyama is a London-based, mixed-Japanese artist who creates raw and confrontational artworks spanning paintings, sculptures, tapestries, poetry, and performances that explore the fragile human condition.
Nishiyama notably conducts dialogues and critiques the socio-politics of the female experience by incorporating the artist's Japanese paternal soil, which has buried her military ancestors since the 1400s, into her works, where she reevaluates ancestry, patriarchy, and time.
Exploring ideas of purity, femininity, Shintoism, and trauma; the artist utilises the elements of the world, and responds to what it means to be a woman today. The premise of the work begins with soil that the artist excavated from her paternal land in Japan; which dates back to the 1400s where her military ancestors (including members who committed Seppuku ritual suicides), and members that shaped Shintoism (Yoshida family; constructing the foundation of purification within the religion).
In the tapestries, Nishiyama is inspired by the concept of Kami; translating to "God", which holds no visual representation in Shintoism - only through Shide (white folded pieces of paper). White organic fabrics were first sourced, then burned (fire) to commence God and patriarchy to death, the fabrics were then buried in the ancestral soil (earth) for months, new life was given as they were pulled back out to be soaked in Japanese immune boosting teas (water), naturally weathered in London's (air), and finally treated with traditional Japanese distressing and sewing techniques; Sashiko and Boro; to construct and respond to past, present, and future narratives of existence, and the female narrative of the East and West.
In the paintings, Nishiyama incorporates the same soil as well as a deliberate knife cutting technique to slice through viscous oil pigments on canvas to depict violence and tranquility. Embracing deeply personal experiences to craft each artwork, the artist’s ongoing relationship with reproductive health and trauma has greatly influenced her practice and fueled her to confront vulnerability, fragility and the human condition. Creating is a chaotic yet meditative process for Nishiyama that allows her to make sense of the more tempestuous periods in life as well as continue to merge interdisciplinary thoughts and mediums to visualize the contemporary experience.
As a mixed-Japanese artist, Nishiyama draws inspiration from the East and West. Bridging her Hong Kong, Japanese and Italian cultural heritages.
Nishiyama holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree from Central Saint Martins and a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Parsons School of Design.
Her solo exhibitions include Shunga (2020) at Whitestone Gallery Hong Kong, An Exploration of Human Fragility: Love & Lust (2020) at the Tenri Cultural Institute of New York, and 脆い Moroi: An Exploration of Human Fragility (2019) at Greenpoint Gallery New York.