VOCA prize recommendation sentence in 2008

  • 2430x2465mm 01/11/2007

    2430x2465mm 01/11/2007

    Yamauchi Takashi has three main interests. The first is the optical picture such as the duck and the rabbit, in which the same picture can be seen alternately as two different images. The second is Japanese Western-style painting, a type of painting developed motifs and materials borrowed from Western painting but retaining a Japanese sensibility. The third has to do with the fundamentals of painting. Painting is seen as being flat but at the same time having depth and three dimensions. Painting exists as a physical object with thickness and tactile qualities even though it is thought to be flat. Each of these interests involves a problem in which the answer wavers between one thing and another.
  • The motif in the foreground of the painting shown here is the enlarged winter bud of a walnut tree. These buds persevere through the winter, waiting to grow in the spring. They look something like a person’s face, so they have an ambiguous presence part way between a part of a plant and a face. The pictorial surface has a resinous, oily sheen like old-fashioned Western paintings or the somewhat earthy Western-style Japanese paintings of the early period of modernization. This feature recalls the work of Kishida Ryusei, an artist to whom Yamauchi likes to refer. The walnut tree in the foreground, the plainly painted Japanese house in the middle ground, and an early renaissance-style mountain in the background form three layers that give depth to the pictorial space. When one sees the unpainted spots that look like white drips, bring out the material qualities of the paint, eliminating depth, and making the picture plane look flat. Because of the humorous motif, the painting seems easy to understand at first glance, but Yamauchi’s pictures always contain questions without answers. He devotes his remarkable powers of expressive description to these paintings, focusing on a subtle place in mid-air where both the enigmas and charm of painting take a concentrated form because of its indeterminate nature.
    2008|VOCA2008|the ueno royal museum

    2008|VOCA2008|the ueno royal museum

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