Toru Kuwakubo started his career as a painter in a theatrical manner – inventing an imaginary painter within himself and creating paintings with thick layers of paint that remind us of the Impressionists – as a part of his performance as an idealized professional painter. Since then he has continued exploring the possibility of painting as a medium, by working with the richness of the materiality of paint and physicality of the painter. Narrative is an important element of Kuwakubo’s practice. He has written Telling of Sea, Telling of Painter, his self-published paperback, which contains short tales as well as his theory of art. The images that are flowing out from the narratives take forms on paintings, perhaps searching for continuing narratives and painting’s ability of conveying them.
The sea and its shore are significant and the most depicted motifs in Kuwakubo’s work. Stretching shoreline, the horizon, and the sound of waves suggest eternity, as well as humanity’s limits in the face of nature. For this exhibition, Kuwakubo has written a story on a beautiful summer day by the sea:
The sea was light blue, turning closer to turquoise approaching the horizon. In the distance whitecaps appeared, then disappeared. … It was a spectacle of the most radiant, beautiful sort. A scene that seemed to burn deep into my soul, in the way that light burns on negative film.
After a while, it struck me that this scene was of the fleeting kind I would never forget.
– Toru Kuwakubo, One wonderful day which cannot be forgotten
In his first solo exhibition in Singapore, Kuwakubo will present about 13 new paintings.