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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Yoshiki Nakahara


Yoshiki Nakahara is a youthful and magnetic 52-year-old Japanese painter resident in Copenhagen, Denmark for the past 22 years. I met up with him in a gallery in Ginza this afternoon.

Nakahara works in oils rich as chocolate in their daubed density and peacock-like in their subtle brilliance. Various layers of ruminating darks and pastels combine with the vivid daubings, splashes, and swipes that generally form the immediate ‘face’ of his works to create an immediate sense of depth and dimension that only grows with the amount of time you devote to each one. The subtlety and complexity of color mixing that inhabits this depth are the elements that work immediately on the imagination, conjuring up as many images, memories and phantoms as there are people who see them.

Born and raised in Gifu prefecture, Nakahara went to Europe in the early 80s looking for inspiration. He ended up providing as much inspiration as he was seeking: the woman that a mutual attraction had paired him with on a visit to Copenhagen and whom he had promised he would return to after a tour of the Continent – now his wife - turned up in pursuit of him in Barcelona, unable to wait any longer. Since then he has been a resident of Denmark, visiting Gifu for a couple of months every year since then.

Nakahara’s works are uniformly untitled. Nakahara stresses the importance of the moment in understanding his works: the moments of their creation and the attendant impressions, conscious or unconscious, that they have on the artist while painting and, just as importantly, the moment of their viewing and the unique mindset - shaped by time, place and events - of the viewer. In other words, these are not concepts or feelings served up on a plate. They demand that the viewer give something back.

These qualities show in Nakahara’s own demeanor: he is less the classic old-school ‘master’ than the dedicated, connected ‘enabler’, the ‘medium’. He doesn’t seek to overpower, he demands engagement.

An established presence in the European art world, Nakahara has a keen following, one collector even having exclusively devoted himself to his works.

A selection of Yoshiki Nakahara’s works is available for viewing, and for sale, at the “Gallery Sho” in the Hokuo no Takumi (‘Scandanavian Crafts Gallery’ – tel.03-5524-5657) in Ginza 1-15-13 Hokuo Building 3F. Nearest stations Ginza 1-chome on the Yurakucho subway line (Exit 10), or Takaracho on the Asakusa subway line (Exit A3). The exhibition is until March 25 and can be seen 11am to 6pm every day except Mondays.

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