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.
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) and “A Calendar for Painters Without Time Sense 1. 3. 4. 5. 7. 8”（ Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, 2018). 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, 2013), “Tokyo Painting II | Mindscape between interior and exterior” (Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo, 2013) and “ROKKO MEETS ART 2016” (Rokkosan Country House, Hyogo, 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.