hpgrp gallery New York presents From Asia Jipang, Japanese artist Seitako Kuroda’s first solo show in New York.
It will focus on the body of work that Kuroda made in New York from the 1990s until the present, and most especially on the “live” paintings, which are performance compositions created in front of an audience, often with the accompaniment of music composed by m…usicians from around the world. The exhibition will include two large-scale paintings created during Kuroda’s performance “PIKADON Live” at The Kitchen in New York in 2005, along with a documentary video about the artist himself and one of his collaborators, avant-garde musician Toshinori Kondo.
Kuroda is an artist who cannot be pinned down to one genre. Rather, he is a polymath, a man who has experimented in every medium — film, music, drawing, illustration and painting — and whose career expands beyond the field of art. Originally introduced to the art world as an illustrator in the 1960s, Kuroda later became a beloved cultural icon in Japan. What sets Kuroda apart from other artists, is the singularity of his line, the way that his work, and most especially his drawings, never fails to bear the mark of his hand. There is no title for an artist like Kuroda. He is an original, an entire genre unto himself.
Although easy comparisons can be made between Kuroda’s live paintings and the action paintings of abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollack, Kuroda’s work is unique because it incorporates elements of performance. There is something primal and elemental about the way that Kuroda channels not only his own subconscious, but also the energy of the audience into his paintings, building line upon line before the spectator’s eyes. The space of the live painting performance thus becomes spiritual, the layers of paint the expression of a collective will. The final paintings look like figures drawn on a cave wall in prehistoric times.
Two of the paintings that will be exhibited at the hpgrp Gallery were created at the Pikadon Project performance. It is the first time that they will be exhibited without Kuroda himself being present. They will be accompanied by a video of the event that was recorded and edited by Toshiaki Ozawa. The video serves to capture the moment that the paintings were created, showing how each layer built upon the one that preceded it to form the final works. It highlights the concept that history is contemporaneous with the present—the paintings by Kuroda may have been made in the past, but through Ozawa’s videos, the viewer can experience their creation again. Other videos at work by Ozawa will also be included in the exhibition. The entire gallery space will be darker than usual to create better conditions to appreciate KURODA’s primal art form.