Hideaki Kawashima - KYOBAI, Japanese Art and Culture London Wednesday, April 2, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo; Modern Collections Ltd, London; Private collection

  • Catalogue Essay

    "Kawashima's work gives a sense of the fleetingness of life, as well asthe narcissism of human beings. He takes the anxiety we all share as we wonder who we really are, and transforms our fears into beautiful paintings." (Y.Yamaguchi, Warriors of Art: A Guide to Contemporary Japanese Artists,Tokyo, 2007 p.40) Studying alongside Yoshimoto Nara, one of Japans most influential artist's to emerge over the last decade – Hideaki Kawashima's paintings with bubble-type figures and over-sized marble-like eyes have gained increasing popularity amongst Western art-lovers. With acrylic painted canvases, Kawashima's faces, although at first cute and comical are depictions that comment on the anachronistic trappings of traditional portraiture. Appearing as sacks without nostrils or ears, their eerie and uncanny presentations, comment on the definition of individuality. Whilst following in the footsteps of portraiture, Kawashima is interested in the distinct features of people, which become burned into our memories. Like Nara, working from the image-bank of children in Japanese subcultures, Kawashima focuses predominately on the female head with piercing eyes that have become his signature painterly characteristics. His paintings combine a sense of the gothic and the enchanted and whilst abstracted through their balloon-shaped heads and wisps of hair, are delicate and dainty in their depiction. "Kawashima's portraits depict faces of indeterminate gender with pale skin and often with long white hair like ghosts. In sharp contrast to the soft colors of the skin and hair are the eyes, which are painted with strong blues and greens, and patterned with fine lines that seem to reflect light in a myriad of directions. Kawashima says he paints the faces ‘as if they were self-portraits' and that his motivation comes from a desire to confirm his existence. It's the kind of feeling everybody has experienced. Like looking at one's own reflection in a train window late at night, and thinking how flimsy and uncertain this thing called the ‘self' is." (Y.Yamaguchi, Warriors of Art: A Guide to Contemporary Japanese Artists,Tokyo, 2007 p.40)



Acrylic on canvas.
50.2 x 60.8 cm. (19 3/4 x 24 in).
Signed, titled and dated ‘Chuckle Hideaki Kawashima [in Japanese] 2002’ on the overlap.

£10,000 - 15,000 Ω

Sold for £16,100

KYOBAI, Japanese Art and Culture

3 Apr 2008, 6pm