Image rights: © Estate of Tetsuya Ishida. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.
About Tetsuya Ishida
Tetsuya Ishida’s Kafkaesque paintings reflect the psychological malaise of growing up in Japan’s “lost decade” of economic turmoil. His paintings depict humanoid figures in surreal environments, reflecting on uncertainty and unease. Ishida’s practice grew out of a self-portraiture that used absurdist humor to address his emotional abjection. “I tried to make myself—my weak self, my pitiful self, my anxious self—into a joke or something funny that could be laughed at,” the artist once said. In Waiting for a Chance (1999), Ishida paints a hospital room and captures melancholy and apprehension in his figure’s face. Yet the patients sit and lie on derelict cars instead of beds: a farcical gesture that ties the painting’s emotional atmosphere to questions of the uncertainty of Japan’s industrial, economic, and social futures.
Japanese, 1973-2005, Yaizu, Japan, based in Tokyo, Japan