Works by Japanese artist Kyosuke Tchinai (b. 1948) are on show for the first time in the UK. The majority are paintings, seductive and often surreal, embracing a range of subjects: flowers, butterflies, solitary beauties. These are contemporary treatments of traditional themes, resonant with Japan’s rich visual history. The abundant use of gold in many pictures mirrors Japanese painting of the 16th and 17th centuries. But the application of the gold is so varied, it becomes a kind of celebration of that medium: textured patterns, cut out shapes, tiny squares, larger squares, sprinkled flakes, spray effects.
The execution of the pictorial elements is painstaking and detailed. I found myself curious as to whether the butterflies had been copied one by one from a nature book, or whether they were fantasy butterflies. Their grace and decorative allure reminded me of the luscious enamel butterflies on a Hayashi Kodenji vase, shown in the V&A cloisonné display of 2012. However, one of the pieces I liked best, Fleurs Protegées, features neither butterflies nor gold leaf, but a quieter ground that draws the viewer in through its subtle rendering of foliage and water, and the still but attentive figure before it.
For another take on this show, do check out what Fran has to say on Sequins and Cherry Blossom.
Kyosuke Tchinai: Autumn Bliss
Gallery Elena Shchukina, London
21 November 2013 to 25 January 2014
Above: Kyosuke Tchinai, Fleurs Protegées. Image at http://www.galleryelenashchukina.com/artists/kyosuke-tchinai/
Below: Kyosuke Tchinai, Feu d'Artifice aux Papillons I. Image at http://www.galleryelenashchukina.com/artists/kyosuke-tchinai/
Below: Vase. Hayashi Kodenji, ca. 1880-90. Cloisonné enamel. Height 25cm. Victoria and Albert Museum. Image: V&A, at http://collections.vam.ac.uk