The scenes that appear in Atsushi Fukui’s works are often depicted delicately in vivid colors or in a tone of cold blue. Some motifs embrace the details that made their expressions easy to recognize, but some only consist of outlines and variation in color while remaining certain distance from viewers. The motifs such as mushrooms or trees, a young girl in the forest or a deer standing in a room are arranged surrealistically in the pictures. It seems to be a hallucinated world existing in a peculiar space filled with tranquility and peace. During his youth, Fukui was fascinated with American and European science fictions as well as the comics and cartoons, and these influences are related to the touch and the theme in his works.
The theme of Fukui paints in the early 2000s was based mainly on his everyday life. There is one piece titled yellow face, from his solo exhibition “bedroom paintings” at Tomio Koyama Gallery in 2002. The view of his own body in a green t-shirt and the light on the ceiling while lying down on the floor were turned into a landscape of mountain ranges and the sun, implying the scenes of the narrow spaces of urban life with simple composition and contours wittily. Thereafter, the themes became more metaphorical and philosophical, and are derived from Fukui’s original stories. In the solo exhibition “the eyes of the midnight sun” in 2006, the paintings narrate a fictional myth at an ancient time when the earth was first created, imagined by Fukui. In another show titled “I see in you” in 2009, more paintings of dark blue tones were presented. They are quiet, carrying concealed emotions and uneasiness connected to the nature.
To describe the inner meaning of his works, the art historian, Masue Kato stated:
“‘All the world, including the self, is an illusion, but a sense of vision belonging to the self that doubts its own existence exists.’ This idea appears as a visual experience and cannot be fully shared in words. The images are not just illusions but mediums that reflect the gaze of the artist mediated by others and the world.”
(from the catalogue “last night I dreamt somebody stole my mushroom”, 2011, p.128)
In 2013, Fukui once again illustrates based on everyday life, while retaining the imaginary vision and images that we feel familiar with about his work. It is as if Fukui stood at different places, conveying various viewpoints on the road of his life as a painter.
In this exhibition, new paintings by Fukui will be on view. On top of the painting with landscape of snow, there are also recently developed motifs, for example the axe, in those works. Fukui stated that he altered his living environment in the previous summer. He moved away from the city and started a life in a place with an elevation of 1000 meters in the mountain. He experienced a significant change in climate from the hot season to the frost. The difference occurs in many ways — not only the scenery around him but also his everyday chores including gathering firewood and using axes and chainsaws– and therefore brings about the new chemistry in his works. The title of this exhibition, “Summer into Winter”, is taken from an album by Ben Watt which is one of Fukui’s favorite. It indicates both the seasonal change on Fukui’s timeline and the visual transformation that is going to take place at the gallery space located in the tropical country.
Atsushi Fukui was born in 1966, in Aichi prefecture. In 1989, he completed his B.A. in oil painting at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. He is currently based in Yamanashi prefecture.
His first show at Tomio Koyama Gallery is the group exhibition “morning glory” curated by Yoshitomo Nara (Tokyo, Japan, 2002.) Thereafter, he held solo exhibitions “bedroom paintings” (2002), “teenage ghosts (and other scary stories)” (2004), “the eyes of the midnight sun” (2006), and “I see in you” (2009), “Uncommon Deities-Prints” (2011), followed by this latest solo exhibition at the gallery’s new branch in Singapore. His major group exhibitions include “ORANGE SKY” (2011, RH Gallery, New York), “Punkt Art 2011 David Sylvian-in cooperation with Atsushi Fukui uncommon deities” (2011, Sorlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand, Norway), “convolvulus: Atsushi Fukui / Hideaki Kawashima” (2009, Michael Ku Gallery, Taipei), “The Masked Portrait” (2008, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York), “ROPPONGI CROSSING” (2004, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo). His works have been included in the public collections of The Takahashi Collection (Japan), The Japan Foundation (Japan), The Olbricht Collection (Germany), and The JAPIGOZZI Collection (US/Switzerland).