|Title||Sunrises Again – Artworks by Keisei Kobayashi|
|Duration||Sept. 25 – Nov. 7, 2021|
|Opening||Sept. 25 (Sat.) 3pm|
Asia Art Center Shanghai
Sunrises Again- Artworks by Keisei Kobayashi
Asia Art Center is honored to announce that “Sunrises Again- Artworks by Keisei Kobayashi” will be held from September 25 to November 7, 2021. This is the first solo exhibition for Japanese artist Keisei Kobayashi in Shanghai, also the second exhibition of the artist held in China by Asia Art Center, following “Right Place Right Time – Artworks by Keisei Kobayashi & Chen Qi” (Beijing) in 2019. Keisei Kobayashi has devoted his lifetime perfecting his wood engraving craftsmanship. He fully inherited the technical traditions of wood engraving meanwhile manifesting his contemporary and modern mindset. In his artworks, reality and unreality, realism and abstraction, classic and modern are skillfully integrated. The exhibition will display more than twenty wood engraving artworks by Keisei Kobayashi from the late 1980s to present, presenting the cross section of Kobayashi’s life in the world of wood engraving.
This exhibition will also feature a collection of poems and paintings co-authored by Keisei Kobayashi, Sakai Tadayasu, and Tatehata Akira. Those six poems composed by Japanese modern writer Tatehata Akira and other six wood engraving artworks by Keisei Kobayashi complement each other, vividly interpreting the harmonious coexistence of human beings and nature.
As the most influential artist in the field of wood engraving in Japan, Keisei Kobayashi was born in Shimane Prefecture, Japan in 1944. He is the chairman of the Japan Printmaking Association and an honorary professor at Tama Art University. Together with Nakabayashi Tadayoshi and Tetsuya Noda, he is also known as one of the most representative masters in the printmaking industry in Japan. From concerns in the vicissitudes of social reality to exposing the shifts in our surrounding environment, Kobayashi’s work has been gradually leaning toward optimistic depictions of the future; his incisiveness has softened, and hisonce aggressive imageries have embraced a gentle touch in an effort to convey his wishes for all “beings” (sheng) to live in harmony.
The exhibition entitled “Sunrises Again” features artist Keisei Kobayashi’s vision of how human civilization can overcome difficulties and live in harmony with nature in the haze of current social reality, also as a profound reflection of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and racism. It is a bearing of ecological rise and fall, soul awakening and spiritual liberation. As the artist Keisei Kobayashi has said: “Human beings make up only a small portion of the vast ecosystem composed by countless creatures, and the idea of humans being the head of all living beings shows the arrogance deep in us, which is our illusion. We live on grain which we can get only by our toil and sweat left onthe farm, that is why I’ve been working on wood engraving with all my attention just as people farm the land at the beginning. With the consistent work and humble attitude that I can give the modern society a gift of dedication.”
Keisei Kobayashi is good at using wood engraving originated from Europe as the technique and means of expression. His wood engraving is acclaimed as the “gem on the palm”, which is so fine and sophisticated that can be appreciated with a magnifying glass. Only he can achieve such a level in Japan. Since the late 1980s, Keisei Kobayashi’s wood engraving, such as Transferred Soul, Illusional Planet, At the Dawn, Sunrises Again and other series, is pure in form and language, tranquil while full of passion, and has a rich humanistic spirit. These works do not simply present the appearance of objects, but transform them into ideals in the mind.
Artworks of Kobayashi display unique characteristics in wood engraving. His works seem to be peaceful and detached, full of tranquility. His profound thinking and comprehension of principles of artistic creation and his sensitivity to the variation of current living environment make Kobayashi convey more of a respect for life. Therefore, the main subject matter in his prints include seabed, forest, city, as well as all kinds of animals and plants, which can be called a fantasy. To some extent, his artworks convey a rich interpretation of wood engraving and Eastern spirit.