Celebrated in Paris for his enigmatic canvases that combine the sensuality of the female form with traditional Japanese motifs, Tchinai shows work at a debut solo exhibition in London this winter.
The artist, now in his late sixties, creates a mesmerising visual world that hovers between the ethereal, the imaginary and reality. There are dreamy-faced women in kimonos, exotic butterflies and luxuriant flower forms, but so intensely observed and intricately painted that we see every knot in a tree trunk, every stamen in a flower. Tchinai borrows this intense gaze from 16th century Japanese painting of the Momoyama era, but brings a new aesthetic to it through the surreality of his compositions and his techniques. Instead of fine brushwork in precious metals, he sometimes applies whole blocks of gold and platinum leaf or coloured tissue to make a patchwork effect as a backdrop to the imagery.
“I still remember the excitement and anticipation that preceded my first exhibition in Paris. ‘Tchinai Poésie Orientale’ was held in 2002, at Gallerie Taménaga. Eleven years and four Paris exhibitions later, I can clearly see the many ways in which exhibiting in Europe has influenced my work. I am now looking forward to see how Londoners will respond to my paintings, and how exhibiting in London will inspire my work in the future”, says Tchinai.
Following the gallery’s signature concept of showing art alongside interior pieces, the exhibition will include twenty-five works by Kyosuke Tchinai, complemented by furniture, lighting and decorative objects inspired by the unique combination of ancient Japanese traditions and western influences evident in Tchinai’s paintings. The “fountain” dining chairs cleverly marry a modern industrial aesthetic by using perforated galvanized steel on the back of the chairs with a sophisticated lamination process; an 18th century Japanese screen from the Edo period, illustrates a traditional Japanese composition, autumn flowers on the banks of a river amongst golden clouds, while the antique silks used on the lampshades are taken from historic Kimonos and contrast with the contemporary design of their base.
"I am delighted to host Kyosuke Tchinai's first London show at Gallery Elena Shchukina. I've long been fascinated by his unique ability to subtly infuse his work with elements from his Japanese heritage. His use of materials, approach to his subject and esoteric nature of his work all combine to produce paintings of real force and importance", says curator Elena Shchukina.
Kyosuke Tchinai was born in Namikata Ohchi, in Japan, in 1948, Tchinai studied fine art at the National University of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo, he received the “Excellence Price” at the Japanese young artists’ exhibition in 1988 and has exhibited extensively in Japan, including a solo exhibition of his work at the Nakata Museum in 2003 and a retrospective at the Ehime Fine Art Museum in 2007. In 2002, Parisian Galerie Tamenaga held his first solo exhibition in Europe and has been representing him since.