TORU KUWAKUBO

“A Calendar for Painters Without Time Sense 1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8”

ヨハネス・フェルメールのスタジオ Johannes Vermeer’s Studio 2016 oil on canvas 181.8 × 227.3 cm ©Toru Kuwakubo

Tomio Koyama Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Toru Kuwakubo. This is the artist’s first exhibition in four years.

Toru Kuwakubo started his artistic practice with a theatrical approach, finding the figure of an imaginary painter within himself as a means to explore contemporary art through the medium of painting. His unique expressions created by a classical technique of layering thick oil paint to depict contemporary imagined sceneries reminiscent of the work of Van Gogh, have received acclaim both internationally and within Japan.

Toru Kuwakubo’s Ultimate Homage Painting Dedicated to the Lives of the Painters He Respects

This exhibition features Kuwakubo’s “Calendar Series,” in which he depicts the respective lives of the painters he respects: Picasso, Vermeer, Ensor, Cézanne, Seurat, and Gogh. He paints these painters’ studios as imaginary, spectacular spaces of alternate dimension through manner of his own interpretation. Such works serve as an ultimate homage that attempt to re-experience these painters’ practices and ideas.
The days lived by these prominent painters within art history, their time of practice, and the era in which they lived, as well as the time of Kuwakubo’s own practice and life, all seem uncannily fleeting and give rise to a sense of ‘irregular speed of time.’ Kuwakubo had decided to use a “calendar,” which he had always expressed a fondness for to depict the notion of “time” within his paintings.

Painted Time and Respective Painters: 37 Paintings by Vermeer within One Painting

Kuwakubo began working on this series in 2014, commencing with Munch who he considers as his favorite artist. This work however did not meet its completion, as he had been unable to fully develop his concepts. Thereafter he attempted to depict Ensor, proceeding to allocate each painter a month: April to Ensor, as he associated the impressions of Ensor’s pink colors to cherry blossoms. Cézanne’s work had seemed to evoke the winds of May, while Gogh conveyed feelings of the sea on the summer nights in August. Kuwakubo allocated March to Vermeer as he had started working on the painter in March. Picasso was selected to become a face of the calendar, and hence was given January. Seurat got the early summer month of July. Although working on this series for nearly four years it is still not complete, with the exhibition on this occasion only featuring paintings from six different months of the year. The series itself can thus be described as harboring a irregular sense of speed.

In a painting for Vermeer, Kuwakubo had depicted all 37 paintings by Vermeer. He appropriated a monochrome image of Guernica for a painting with a theme of Picasso’s studio.Through working on this series Kuwakubo felt that he had become familiar with each painter’s character and feelings for example, “intelligent” Vermeer, “stubborn” Cézanne, “powerful and overwhelming” Picasso, and “honest” Seurat. Kuwakubo employs brushstrokes and colors through the imagined eyes of each painter, and situates their major works within his paintings, with the motifs stepping out from the canvases to create multi-layered compositions. New perspectives on these painters emerge with unlimited possibilities and sensations amidst complex timeframes and elaborately painted details.

About This Exhibition: “A Calendar for Painters Without Time Sense 1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8”

This exhibition will feature six paintings and six drawings form the Calendar series. Music composed with the motif of each painter by Kuwakubo’s friend and musician Riki Hidaka, are recorded on LP records that are framed above the drawings. Kuwakubo explores a complex and multi-disciplinary approach of using both painting and music based on painters within art history by means of employing traditional recording media.
A live performance by musician Riki Hidaka is also scheduled during the opening reception 6-8pm on January 20.

1. Music for Pablo Picasso, January and Toru Kuwakubo

Pablo Picasso’s Studio
2017
oil on canvas
181.8 × 227.3 cm
©Toru Kuwakubo

3. Music for Johannes Vermeer, March and Toru Kuwakubo

Johannes Vermeer’s Studio
2016
oil on canvas
181.8 × 227.3 cm
©Toru Kuwakubo

4.Music for James Ensor, April and Toru Kuwakubo

James Ensor’s Studio
2015
oil on canvas
181.8 × 227.3 cm
©Toru Kuwakubo

5.Music for Paul Cézanne, May and Toru Kuwakubo

Paul Cézanne’s Studio
2015
oil on canvas
181.8 × 227.3 cm
©Toru Kuwakubo

7.Music for Georges Seurat, July and Toru Kuwakubo

ジョルジュ・スーラのスタジオ Georges Seurat’s Studio
2018
oil on canvas
181.8 x 227.3 cm
©Toru Kuwakubo

8.Music for Vincent Willem van Gogh, August and Toru Kuwakubo

Vincent Willem van Gogh’s Studio
2015
oil on canvas
181.8 × 227.3 cm
©Toru Kuwakubo

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For press inquiries, please contact:
press@tomiokoyamagallery.com (Makiko Okado)
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Artist Profile

Toru Kuwakubo

Toru Kuwakubo was born in Zama, Kanagawa in 1978. He graduated from the Oil Painting Department at Tama Art University in 2002.

His major solo exhibitions include “World Citizens with the White Boxes” (Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2008), “Out of Noise” (GALLERY HYUNDAI Gangnam Space, Seoul, Korea, 2010), “Telling of Sea, Telling of Painter” (Tokyo Wonder Site Shibuya, Tokyo, 2010) and “One Wonderful Day Which Cannot Be Forgotten” (Tomio Koyama Gallery Singapore, Singapore, 2014). His major group exhibitions include “Artist File 2010 : The NACT Annual Show of Contemporary Art” (The National Art Center, Tokyo, 2010), “Azamino Contemporary vol.2 Viewpoints Drawing & Painting” (Yokohama Civic Art Gallery Azamino, Kanagawa, 2012), “Site: Place of Memories, Spaces with Potential” (Hiroshima MOCA, Hiroshima), “Tokyo Painting II | Mindscape between interior and exterior” (Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo, 2013) and “ROKKO MEETS ART 2016” (Rokkosan Country House, Hyogo, Japan, 2016)

Kuwakubo won the Tokyo Wonder Wall Award sponsored by Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in 2002. He also received the Bijutsu Techo Prize and the Tomio Koyama Gallery Prize at GEISAI#5, the 3rd Koji Kinutani Prize by the Mainichi Newspaper in 2011, VOCA Encouragement Prize sponsored by The Ueno Royal Museum in 2012 and the First Prize at the 3rd D-Art Biennale in 2013.

His works are included in numerous public collections including 
Takamatsu City Museum of Art
, Takahashi Collection
, 
The Taguchi Art Collection, The DAI-ICHI LIFE Insurance Company, The JAPIGOZZI Collection.

  • Johannes Vermeer's Studio(部分) ©Toru Kuwakubo
  • Installation images from “A Calendar for Painters Without Time Sense 1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8” at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2018 ©Toru Kuwakubo photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation images from “A Calendar for Painters Without Time Sense 1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8” at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2018 ©Toru Kuwakubo photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation images from “A Calendar for Painters Without Time Sense 1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8” at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2018 ©Toru Kuwakubo photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation images from “A Calendar for Painters Without Time Sense 1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8” at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2018 ©Toru Kuwakubo photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation images from “A Calendar for Painters Without Time Sense 1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8” at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2018 ©Toru Kuwakubo photo by Kenji Takahashi
  • Installation images from “A Calendar for Painters Without Time Sense 1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8” at Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2018 ©Toru Kuwakubo photo by Kenji Takahashi