We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

🛈 Find out what you need to know before visiting


Smiley face



Koji Ryui


1976 –

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    tinsel, steel
    115.0 x 60.0 x 45.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of Clinton Bradley 2016. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
    20th-century galleries (lower level 1)
    Accession number
    © Koji Ryui

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Koji Ryui

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Koji Ryui's practice is based upon the subtle and sustained transformation of commonplace materials. Working intuitively, Ryui invests these humble things with an almost mystical quality, sometimes underscored by wry humour. In this cluster of five assemblages, Ryui's minimal gestures open out an array of associations between the banal and mystical, inert and animate, micro and macro. In 'Mother', for instance, an upturned pot capped with Spakfilla and resting on an old stool evokes the snowy peak of Mt Mehru, considered to be the centre of the universe in Buddhist and Hindu cosmology. 'Cloud' plays in a more abstract fashion on the elemental and allusive properties of found items, while 'Ceramic' brings small talismanic objects from the natural world into dialogue with moulded packaging, investing the consumer cast-offs with anthropomorphic stature. Both 'Smiling' and 'Smiley face' invoke the pervasive pop-culture icon of the "smiley face" through unlikely means, a bucket and a strand of tinsel respectively.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

    • Georgina Cole., Koji Ryui: Soft landing, 'Koji Ryui: Soft landing', Paddington, 2014, not paginated. press release

Other works by Koji Ryui

See all 5 works