in Tokyo / Japan
23.03.2024 - 20.04.2024 00:00
Hideaki Kawashima - Stream

Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi is pleased to present Hideaki Kawashima’s solo exhibition “Stream.” Marking Kawashima’s seventh solo presentation at the gallery, the exhibition features a series of latest paintings that introduce new developments for the artist, strongly reflecting his changing state of mind.

About Hideaki Kawashima and the exhibition: “Being a ‘Bubble’ Within a Large Flow,” Gaining Awareness Through Conflicts with Narcissism
From the early years of his practice, Hideaki Kawashima (1969 – ) has continued to confront his strong self-conscious, depicting subjects of various faces and the delicate melancholic eyes and expressions that manifest within them. Such works could be described as something like a self-portrait of sorts — a symbolic projection of his sentiment based on his own emotions and experiences of trial and error, as also informed by the two years of Buddhist training that he undertook at Mt. Hiei in his twenties.

However, the recent pandemic, particularly the deaths of close family members and a fellow artist, had made Kawashima increasingly aware of his own mortality. At the same time, the opportunity to meet and interact with young children of his friends’ families, had served as a very inspiring and significant experience for him.

The awareness that some people go while others come, and that human existence is part of the larger flow of the cycle of life, had enabled Kawashima to gradually become free from the captivity of the “self.” As a result, he began to react and express what he observed and heard in a more honest and straightforward manner.

The title of this exhibition is also a quotation from the opening passage of Hojoki (A Hermit’s Hut as a Metaphor), written by author and poet Kamo no Chōmei in the early Kamakura period (1185-1333).

The stream of the river never ceases, and the water never stays the same.
Bubbles float on the surface of pools, bursting, re-forming, never lingering.

Kawashima’s previous works are characterized by their exquisitely subtle and pale gradations of color rendered in acrylic. However, now being conscious of his own mortality, he has sublimated his dislike of oil paint, a symbol of his perturbations when he first began painting in his youth, producing all the vibrantly colorful works in this exhibition in oils.

About the Exhibited Works: Farewells and New Encounters, Depicting the Transience and Brilliance of Life and Death
“Guide” (2023), which depicts a girl holding Kawashima’s hand and guiding him around the park while playing, is based on a photograph taken by the child’s mother who is a friend of Kawashima’s.
The photograph was taken on a day shortly after the death of Kawashima’s father. Conveying a world in the company of a young child and signifying the end of his time spent confronting an elderly presence, the image had instilled him with the sensation of being guided into the realm of the afterlife by a messenger from the future. Having felt lightened in heart at the sight of this image captured by someone else, Kawashima took on the challenge of painting a landscape from a photograph — a method unfamiliar to him — and vividly depicts the presence of these two figures amidst the fresh verdure.

“Stream” (2023) is based on a photograph of a young girl taken by the girl’s father of her looking out at a rippling pond while Kawashima was picnicking with the family at a nearby park. In Kawashima’s eyes, the image of the two shores and the surface of the water seemed suggestive of the girl’s journey ahead in life, with he himself watching over her from the shadows amongst the leaves and grass. It is in essence a work that truly symbolizes this exhibition.

“Girls” (2024) is a work inspired by Kawashima’s experience of seeing an overseas pop idol group, gaining the impression that despite being cute, all the members strangely seemed to look the same.
Kawashima mentions that painting effect lines in the background of the image to create a sense of speed, had brought to his mind the phrase “life is brief, fall in love, maidens.” This lyric from a song that the protagonist in Akira Kurosawa’s film “Ikiru” (“To Live”) sings when he realizes that he is dying, seemed to perfectly coincide with Kawashima’s own feelings. The ten girls seem to be represented as a single “concept of a girl,” through their unmatching gazes, the relationship between their faces, and their flowing hair.

Kawashima states as follows with regards to the exhibition
“It’s been 20 years since I started my life as an artist, and I feel like I’ve finally come full circle.
It feels like something has come to an end, and something is beginning.
Looking back, I cannot help but notice the curious connections and opportunities I have been blessed with, and as such, I am perhaps now more religious than I was when training in Mt. Hiei during my youth.
I find myself truly confronted with the sense of not knowing what it means to live.”

Kawashima’s works, reflecting his attachment to his younger self-conscious, changes in his family, and awareness towards death, serve to evoke a certain sense of connection and deep emotional response within viewers. We hope viewers will take this opportunity to witness Kawashima’s latest oeuvre that convey the sparks of his new feelings and thoughts.

Gallery hours 11 pm – 7 pm, closed Sun, Mon, National Holidays

Exhibition Duration 23.03. – 20.04.2024


Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi
complex665 2F, 6-5-24, Minato-ku
106-0032 Tokyo


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