At first, it was a self-portrait. I tried to make myself—my weak self, my pitiful self, my anxious self—into a joke or something funny that could be laughed at…It was sometimes seen as a parody or satire referring to contemporary people. As I continued to think about this, I expanded it to include consumers, city-dwellers, workers, and the Japanese people.
Gagosian Hong Kong is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by Tetsuya Ishida, the gallery’s first presentation of his work. This is the first exhibition of Ishida’s paintings outside of Japan.
Ishida came of age as a painter during Japan’s “lost decade,” a time of nationwide economic recession that lasted through the 1990s. In his afflictive paintings, he captured the feelings of hopelessness, claustrophobia, and emotional isolation that burdened him and dominated Japanese society. From his early career until his untimely death in 2005, Ishida provided vivid allegories of the challenges to Japanese life and morale in paintings and graphic works charged with dark Orwellian absurdity.
In nightmarish scenes, suited figures made in Ishida's own likeness but possessing machine or animal parts are depicted being boxed and repaired, like helpless objects. Foreground and background are rendered in equally meticulous detail and this intricate compression of layers intensifies the sense of entrapment. The stoic male subjects seem accustomed to their cyborg limbs and dreary surroundings as they carry on in their shared routine. Some men are fully merged with household objects, reduced to little more than functional but inanimate tools and furniture.
Waiting for a Chance (1999) depicts young men in a hospital room, anxiously awaiting their fate as they rest on scrapped auto bodies in place of hospital beds. The striking allegory Descendant (1999), also set in a hospital, portrays a group of surgeons surrounding a child who has been birthed by prehistoric reptiles. In Exercise Equipment (1997), a recurring suited subject is pictured running on a treadmill, monitored by men positioned to hook his ankles should he slow down. These disturbing scenes are consistent with the surreal melancholy of contemporary Japanese authors such as Mahoko Yoshimoto and Haruki Murakami, whose novels propose a society of individuals debilitated by neurosis and traumatic dysfunction.
石田徹也1973年生於日本靜岡縣燒津市，於2005年東京的火車平交道事故中身亡。曾於博物館展出的個人畫展包括日本靜岡縣駿府博物館(2006)、靜岡縣立美術館的「石田徹也:憂傷的畫布」(2007)、東京CB Collection (2007)以及東京練馬區立美術館的「石田徹也: 自畫像」(2008)。他的作品亦於多個聯展中展出，當中包括倫敦佳士得的「亞洲前衛藝術展」(1998)、首爾省谷美術館「dis-communication」(2007)、日本千葉縣佐倉市立美術館「Chaosmos ‘07: In the Face of Sadness」(2007)，以及靜岡縣濱松市美術館的「石田徹也和靜岡相關的藝術家」(2009)。今年秋天於足利美術館舉行的石田徹也作品研究展「Notes, Evidence of Dreams」將巡展至平塚美術館、富山勵波市美術館和靜岡縣立美術館（至2014年）。
Tetsuya Ishida’s Nihilist Realism
Mika Yoshitake details the economic, psychological, and cultural conditions that gave rise to Tetsuya Ishida’s unique strain of Japanese postwar realism.
Tetsuya Ishida: Painter of Modern Life
Yūko Hasegawa explores the fantastical convergences and amalgamations in Tetsuya Ishida’s paintings, their connections to manga and advertising imagery, and the shift that occurred in the artist’s work as he moved from acrylic to oil paint in 2000.
Tetsuya Ishida’s Testimony
Edward M. Gómez writes on the Japanese artist’s singular aesthetic, describing him as an astute observer of the culture of his time.