SAI is pleased to present ‘This is LUV’, an exhibition by the Tokyo-based artist LY.
The exhibition is her largest solo show to date and will be taking place from Friday 23rd September 2022 to Sunday 16th October 2022. LY is an artist widely recognised for her painted murals that adorn the Omotesando/Harajuku area. Having studied painting at art school since childhood, she fell in love with street art as a teenager and began working as an artist. Since then, she has been painting murals primarily in Tokyo and Japan, but has expanded her practice globally by creating works in the U.S., Paris, Bangkok, and Malaysia.
Known for her catchy yet calm style, LY’s early works were initially comprised of black-and-white compositions paired with emotionally charged expressions. However, her 2013 solo exhibition ‘PARK'S GRAY’, marked a turning point in her style by introducing the colour grey, and its tonal variations into her monochrome paintings, capturing the attention of both the art and culture scenes alike.
Another feature of LY’s work is the frequent appearance of the black humanoid character ‘LUV’. ‘LUV’ is often depicted carrying a skateboard, flowers, or sometimes a dog, and wandering the urban streets and forests of LY’s black-and-white world. With a brilliant gaze that looks directly at the viewer; ‘LUV’ is an expression of the artist’s determination, hopes and fantasies for the future, and the objects in LUV’s hands, the way it walks and sits curled up in a ball, contemplating the world around it communicates the emotions of the character, whilst reflecting the precious sense of presence that we all carry within us. While holding these sentiments dear, LUV continues to be an extension of the artists' expressions and those of us who appreciate them.
“LUV wanders around towns and forests with a skateboard, flowers, and a dog in his arms. LUV walks wherever he goes, holding the objects and things he loves and cherishes the most close to heart. Whether it is walking through the forest to meet someone or sitting curled up in a little ball and thinking about someone, LUV expresses a shared sentiment that there is always someone or something important beyond our thoughts.”
ー LY
The exhibition title, ‘This is LUV’, represents both the feelings of an artist who loves the physical act of painting, as well as a literal reference to the character of LUV who functions as a conduit for the artist’s emotions. The exhibition is the artist's largest solo show to date, and is comprised of canvas works centred on four themes: ‘Landscape,’ scenes in which LUV blends into the natural landscape; ‘Portrait,’ works that focus on the character of LUV; ‘Cityscape,’ scenes depicting LUV in the city; and ‘Blooms,’ paintings that depict the artist’s daughter surrounded by flowers. The work from the latter series, ‘My LUV’, is particularly notable as it depicts both the artist and her daughter, allowing viewers to gain a sense for the mixture of fantasy and reality found throughout the exhibition.
For the first time, the exhibition will also feature two large-scale bronze works, ‘With his sidekick’ and ‘This is LUV,’ which were created with the Netherlands-based art platform Avant Arte, adding a further sense of presence to the space. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of new works, as well works that will be available for sale throughout the duration of the exhibition, including small -scale edition sculptures and prints, a flower vase sculpture based on the painting motifs, as well as exhibition related merchandise. Please come and enjoy the imaginative world of LY, filled with tender love and creativity.

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