“I believe painting is where actuality and possibility meet with one’s intention. As a landfill utilizes the progresses of nature over a long period of time, I’m interested in the visual and symbolic dialogue of between man’s intention and nature’s inevitabilities.”
ARTIST: HIDENORI ISHII
It was Ishii’s love of Dutch painting that led him to quit his studies and enrol in art college. Since he took up a brush he has been exploring the possibilities of integrating psychological and environmental systems into self-contained worlds, the paintings a juxtaposition of artificial and natural patterns; always transforming, moving, energetic, forever destroying and rebuilding.
IN THE STUDIO
CATCHING UP WITH: HIDENORI ISHII
Was there a particular event or moment that kickstarted your career?
I first moved to the US in 1997 with the intention of studying environmental science, but it didn’t work out for me because I wasn’t proficient in english at the time. I happened to be in Washington DC at the time, and I diverted my frustration with the English language by spending time browsing the Smithsonian and art galleries.
I realised back then, appreciating these works of art transcended language and cultures, and it kickstarted the motivation to pick up art classes.
The one artwork that struck me the most was an oil painting by Dutch artists Johannes Vermeer, “Woman Holding a Balance”. I was at a point in my life where I was young and lost, and I made replicated my version of a “Woman holding a Balance” in one of my art classes, hoping to parallel what it meant in my life. and that’s how everything started.
Source of inspiration.
I have to say I’m in love with the works of the Old masters,the figurative and narrative paintings that are embedded with some much symbolism. I am interested in the conceptually symbolic and social aspects of landscapes rather than physical landscapes. I create my own environment and project that onto the canvas, and I want them to span space and time, by combining both present and future into a piece of artwork. I toy with the idea of transformation.
What keeps you rooted to japan?
My work includes a lot of icons and events that are significant in Japan. My latest works spanning the past 2 years symbolise the struggles experienced by the Japanese people and economy after the Tsunami. I still feel very deeply for the Japanese people as they struggle with the government’s lack of transparency, and how they have suffered daily since.
I recently read a book by Dr Shinzo Kimura, a radiation specialist, that it would take 160-180 years for Japan to have radiation levels normalise once again, and my canvas is really just an ongoing documentation of the ongoing situation faced by the Japanese people, and a reminder to us all of what is really happening at a moment in time.