Erika Kobayashi: Trinity


2017.11.29 - 2018.01.14
10:00 - 17:00 


2017.11.29 - 2018.01.14
Open Hours
10:00 - 17:00

Closed on Tuesdays
2017.12.26–2018.1.1 (New Year's holiday)
Free entrance

About the Exhibition

Whitestone Gallery Karuizawa is pleased to announce Erika Kobayashi’s exhibition: Trinity. “Trinity” refers to the three aspects of God in Christianity; however, for this exhibition, the artist also intends to indicate the name of the place where the first experiment with atomic bombs took place—the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, the United States in 1945.
Kobayashi has been attracted toward radiation due to its invisibility, and she has been attempting to represent it through literature and art. Radium, which is a chemical element often used for producing nuclear products, has a half-life of 1601 years. It means that the radium discovered by Marie Curie and her husband in 1898 will disintegrate in the year 3503. For the artist, evaluating the positive and negative implications of radiation and its history is not the purpose of her study. Rather, she is interested in imagining how people in the future will think about us, who have decided to use radiation in several fields while we continue to suffer from the dangers it poses to human health and be threatened by atomic weapons at the present time.
By representing radiation through various media, the artist enables us to think about life and death. If people in the past had taken another decision, how would we live now? Why was the atomic bomb dropped to kill people, and why do we need to worry about the influence of radiation on our health today? We cannot change history, but what can we do to change our future?
We cordially invite you to experience Erika Kobayashi’s thought-provoking exhibition in Karuizawa.


Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Ghost. The Christian term for the threefold nature of God.

The word is also a name: the name of the site where the first atomic bomb experiments took place at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, U.S.A.

No one knows quite how this place got its name.

Perhaps it was named after a nearby mountain said to be so evil it was shunned by even the Native Americans. Or perhaps it simply refers to the threefold experiment about to take place—an experiment that began there with the detonation of the first atomic bomb, the Gadget, and that continued with Little Boy, which was dropped on Hiroshima, and that concluded with Fat Man, which was dropped on Nagasaki.

Years later, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the nuclear physicist who directed the Manhattan Project and oversaw nuclear weapons development in the U.S., tried to recall the reason for the name, but in the end, was unable to remember it clearly.

Still, though, he said, I’m sure I had that poem by John Donne somewhere in the back of my mind.

BATTER my heart, three-persone'd God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

Erika Kobayashi


Erika Kobayashi (1978–) is a writer, comics artist and artist currently based in Tokyo. In 2008–2009 she was invited to New York as an Asian Cultural Council/ Rockefeller Foundation Fellow. Kobayashi has authored the novel “Madame Curie to choshoku wo” (Breakfast with Madame Curie, 2014), which was nominated for Japan’s most prestigious literary awards, the Mishima Yukio Award and the Akutagawa Award in 2014. Other works by Kobayashi include the manga/graphic novel “Hikari no kodomo 1,2 LUMINOUS”(Children of Light: Luminous, 2013/2016),which traces the history of the atom and of radiation ; and the autobiographical “Shin’ai naru Kitty tachi e”(Your Dear Kitty,, 2011), which is based on the diaries of Anne Frank and on the diary of Kobayashi’s real father. Recent selected exhibitions include "She Looks into the Mirror”(solo exhibition) at GALLERY360° in Tokyo, “Your Dear Kitty, the book of Memories”(collaborate with The Future) at Lloyd Hotel and JCC in Amsterdam, “The Radiants”(group exhibition) at Bortolami Gallery in New York, “Living Locally”(group exhibition) at Arts Maebashi in Gunma, “Roppongi Crossing 2016: My Body, Your Voice”(group exhibition) at Mori Art Museum in Tokyo.


GALLERY360°、LUFTZUG、妖精の森ガラス美術館、Printilo Yuka
Translated by Brian Bergstrom / Direct mails designed by Mina Tabei