Ryu Gaku’s digital paintings and multimedia projects critically explore themes of geographic place, digital cultures and simulation.
Born in Nagasaki in 1986, Gaku spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Tokyo. In 2004, he travelled to Europe, and lived in Scotland from 2004-2007 while studying textile design at the Glasgow School of Art. Here, he developed an interest in the architectural work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, with particular reference to his use of windows. While completing his studies, Gaku worked in information technology and led an off-campus student Zen group. In 2007, he relocated to Australia, where he has lived in both Melbourne and Sydney, as well as various remote areas.
Gaku’s work is characterised by overlapping fields of colour informed by the play of light in built landscapes and structures. These colour fields are mapped out according to spatial data collected through geolocation applications, developed by Gaku and designed to gather information about the geographic movements of people and culture globally.
Gaku has exhibited in group exhibitions in Scotland, Germany, Japan and Australia, with print works held in private collections in the UK and Japan. Since 2014, his exhibiting has been limited to online platforms disguised as conventional message boards and chat rooms, which he develops exclusively for this purpose. He considers these interactive activities to be integral to understanding his body of work as a whole.