A retrospective takes a critical look at the art of Hiroshi Okutani

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KOCHI – The Kochi Art Museum is hosting a major retrospective dedicated to Hiroshi Okutani which explores the full spectrum of the painter’s artistic career in search of blends of Japanese and Western styles.

Organized by The Asahi Shimbun and other institutions, “Hiroshi Okutani: Towards Infinity” runs until January 16th. The exhibition presents a hundred of his works.

As a leading modern Western-style painter, Otani, 87, is known for his figurative paintings rendered in vivid colors.

The recipient of the Order of Culture was the youngest child of a farming family in present-day Sukumo, Kochi Prefecture.

He enrolled at Tokyo University of the Arts to study oil painting under the tutelage of Takeshi Hayashi, a key figure in the Dokuritsu Fine Arts Society, and to learn the art of impasto techniques used in the fauvism.

Although Okutani did stand out, a turning point came around the age of 30 when he realized he was better suited to fresco painting.

He is recognized for his first canvases made with glazing techniques, “Tokage to Fuigo” (Lizard and bellows) and “Kiji to Sagi” (Green pheasant and heron). Gaining confidence, Okutani burned about 40 impasto paintings he had created in the past.

The painter says he instinctively chooses the motifs for his works; a ball-shaped mirror and animal skulls he found in Paris, landscapes he recalled from the past or perhaps his own face.

He was inspired to create Japanese-style oil paintings by “digesting” Western-style art when he saw “Attributed to Taira-no-Shigemori”, a portrait of the feudal warlord’s national treasure. , in a museum in the south of France when he was 38 years old. .

His new work created during the COVID-19 pandemic features the demons Ryutoki and Tentoki, who are associated with Kofukuji Temple in Nara, against a backdrop of Naruto. tidal swirls.

The piece is titled “Sokojikara” (Underlying Force). Okutani experienced severe dizziness while working on the project, but went ahead even though he was on his knees.

The place is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry at 4.30 p.m.). It is closed from December 27 to January 1.

Admission is 1,200 yen ($ 10.60) for adults, 850 yen for college students, and free for high school students and young children.

For any inquiries, visit the official website at (https://moak.jp/event/exhibitions/post_449.html).


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