Controlled Coincidence: Toru Kuwakubo

Apr 11, 2018 2:12AM

31.Mar.2016—08.May.2016 Siri Kollandsrud,  Iabadiou PikoToru Kuwakubo group show in Taiwan

Toru Kuwakubo

“Painting can be subject to criticism in contemporary art but if so, what is contemporary art anyway? Art is naturally unnameable, but aren’t there so many contemporary “looking” works that depend on language? In pursuing art, I thought painting was the natural form for me to appeal to people” says Toru Kuwakubo, a Japan contemporary artist.

Cézanne On the Beach (2015), Oil on Canvas, 23.8 x 28.5inches

At first glance of Kuwakubo’s paintings, many people may think of Vincent van Gogh or Paul Gauguin. We can see the basic characteristics of Impressionism through his paintings, including the bold color and the emphasis on accurate light changing; even so, Kuwakubo still adds personal imagination and experience of life into his creation, instead of just emulating techniques and models of specific style. How to express an emotion or a moment in life with one’s own language? It is a question that can be asked by oneself repeatedly while carrying out the art creation. After Tōhoku earthquake in Japan in 2011, for example, most people are getting afraid of the destruction and the disaster caused by earthquakes. As a result, numerous bodies passed away in the tsunami soundlessly. Unlike other people, Kuwakubo chose to peruse the society and the environment in post-disaster Japan from a entirely different aspect. He worked on a series of painting all about “the ocean”, which is under the impression of “the origin of life”. “Study of mom (2011)” was also selected to win the VOCA Encouragement Prize sponsored by The Ueno Royal Museum in 2012.

Morning (2014), oil on canvas, 39x55inches

Undoubtedly, Kuwakubo’s paintings are pieces of delicately dazzling masterpiece. However, perhaps it can be considered as a mirror, reflecting the life experience between the viewers and the artists and then becoming every stroke on the cannas. In addition, he often questions himself about the nature of creating art. How to achieve equilibrium among the illusory and the actual world? All questions are turning into short rapid strokes, detailed color appearance, and rich moist texture. The most interesting fact is that even the painting is completed in a strong way, we can still feel the warm, tender, and gentle spirit in the whole scene, like a fantasy story happened in the reality.

Painter (2015), Oil on Canvas, 20.1 x 24.6inches

Kuwakubo graduated from Tama Art University in 2002 and won the Tokyo Wonder Wall Award sponsored by Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in the same year. He also received the 3rd Koji Kinutani Prize by the Mainichi Newspaper in 2011 and VOCA Encouragement Prize sponsored by The Ueno Royal Museum in 2012. He has held many exhibitions in Japan as well as aboard such as Korea, Germany, and Denmark, etc.

Lovers (2016), Oil on Canvas, 17.9x15inches