PARCO—a retail chain that emerged in the early 1970s—transcended the parameters of a commercial establishment and became a social phenomenon. Harumi Yamaguchi from the outset participated in the production of PARCO’s advertising as an illustrator, instantly bringing her squarely into the limelight. The women she depicted—“Harumi Gals”—while comprising an integral part of PARCO’s advertising strategy, greatly inspired the women of the day, who were eagerly searching for new lifestyles. The energy of the strong, positive, lithe Harumi Gals, bursting from Yamaguchi’s canvases, even today, when their role as advertisements has long ended, continue to fascinate us as vividly as ever.
This exhibition, titled Harumi’s Summer, was suggested by Harumi Yamaguchi herself as an event for summer 2018, with graphic artist and art director YOSHIROTTEN serving as her collaborator. The show has been possible because each and every work by Yamaguchi is imbued with a universal power that never loses its brilliance, even after it has become divorced from its original purpose. Her representative works drawn by airbrush, her series of 62 females created for PARCO using myriad techniques of expression, her beautiful illustrations featured in Seiko Tanabe’s biography of novelist Nobuko Yoshiya, her elegant horses for the Japan Racing Association (JRA)—these and the many other masterpieces Yamaguchi has contributed through the years, approaching each subject with dedicated sincerity and working them up with carefully chosen techniques, will be trimmed and reconfigured from YOSHIROTTEN’s unique perspective.