Galerie Richard

Kiyoshi NAKAGAMI - Epiphany

Press release

Galerie Richard presents Kiyoshi Nakagami’s first solo exhibitions both in New York and Paris entitled Epiphany. This is also Nakagami’s debut solo show in the United States.

Born in Shizuoka in 1949, Kiyoshi Nakagami was presented in a group exhibition titled “Nihonga Painting, Six Provocative Artists” in Yokohama Museum of Art in 2006. “Nihonga Painting” indicates Japanese painting (“Nihon” means “Japan”) in opposition to Western painting. Nakagami achieved this recognition by the authenticity of his art and the fact that his art is rooted in the culture of his country.

“As a painter, there is nothing more difficult to represent than light. The ones who can do that are the greatest painters, greatest artists.” – Kiyoshi Nakagami

The subject of Nakagami’s paintings is light. The audience is drawn to focus on the dispersion of the light within the space. Irrespective of where the light source is, light radiates into the space above the source differently from below it. The superior space seems to contain no matter and it seems even, empty and infinite. The light spreads through a series of perfectly sumptuous grades. Below the focal point of light, the light must cross an undefined, vaporous matter. His ability to beautifully reproduce the diffusion of light in a painting is unrivalled.

Exhibiting in Paris allowed Nakagami to spend time watching the old masters of light in Western painting. He is not impressed with his contemporary peers, except James Turrell, who he assists during his installations in Japan.

The paintings of Kiyoshi Nagakami invite the audience to look at a meditative space. The drift into contemplation is facilitated by the absence of any prominent painting material on the canvas. The spectator’s gaze falls on a space of indefinite depth of field. This effect is equally strong on a small format painting as it is on a large diptych. If the most part of the audience is struck by a Genesis theme, the artist allows the observer to revel in his own imagination. Nakagami titles the exhibition Epiphany, specifying that he is “referencing the way James Joyce used it, but not the Christian day.”

Because he considers that human being does not rule the Nature, he allows natural processes to develop in his paintings. These perfectly detailed paintings are made without the use of a paintbrush. “Kiyoshi does not like corporal movements to be transferred  to the painting and consequently reproduce its harshness and forceful passion-like those of the expressionists for example…instead of constantly trying to look at the painting from a neutral standpoint; he takes a step back and allows its birth.” Nakagami does not imitate nature; he simply creates natural phenomena on the canvas that are identical to it. He does not reproduce clouds but rather, physically speaking, creates them.

Kiyoshi Nakagami’s work is part of the collections of The National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. He exhibited his paintings at a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Kamakura in 2008. Galerie Richard represented Kiyoshi Nakagami in Europe since 2002.


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