Kiana Girigorie
8 September – 21 October, 2023


“Puzzled” plays with the concept of ethereal lightness intertwined with immense power attributed to spirits. In the works, spirits are portrayed using patterns that are not always distinctifly apparent, yet their vibrant colors give off an alarming presence. “Puzzled” extends

1 from the painting ’I hope you get to see the sea soon .’

The paintings form an ongoing series of characters originating from Japanese folklore: Karakasa-obake and Neko-obake translating to umbrella ghost and cat ghost in English. Karakasa-obake, a mischievous spirit, transforms from an everyday inanimate household object into a lively being at night.The umbrella ghost hops around on one foot, has one eye and a slick serpentine tongue.

Neko-obake represents the spirit of a deceased cat. If one cares well for their feline companion during its lifetime, it recipprocates protection in the afterlife. However, mistreatment of the cat leads to a haunting presence throughout one’s life, causing various misfortunes.The Neko-obake paintings depict Kiana Girigorie’s cats, Giallo and Sama, as an ode to them. Additionally, it serves as a safeguard in case they intend to haunt her in the afterlife.

From an archive of Japanese books, films, and childhood memories, Girigorie attempts to establish a deeper connection with her Japanese heritage, manifested through paintings that draw inspiration from the realm of Japanese folklore.


1 I Hope You Get To See the Sea Soon, 2022, 185x370cm, oil on canvas, Lift Off Centraal Museum & Kennedy van der Laan

The Umibozu, translating to “sea monk” in English, originates from the legend of restless spirits transformed into vengeful sea monsters due to improper burials of monks. They attack ships and crews, yet they can be appeased with valuable barrels, as claimed by fishermen who have encountered them at sea.

The painting titled “I Hope You Get to See the Sea Soon” depicts Umibozu. As the true form and shape of this spirit remain uncertain, it is portrayed as a figure blending seamlessly with its surroundings. Spirits are often associated with a sense of ethereal lightness, reminiscent of ghosts. However, the Umibozu possesses godly powers strong enough to submerge ships, evoking a sense of weight and heaviness. The thickness of the paint and the presence of black checkers enhance this perception. Symbolically, the yellow triangles represent the small fishing vessels of the fishermen, underscoring their insignificance in the face of the immense Umibozu.