The multimedia practice of Japanese contemporary artist Koeda Shigeaki prompts his audience to stop and smell the roses. His vivid flower prints are reminiscent of both Georgia O'Keefe's famous close-up paintings and the intricate floral illustrations of traditional Japanese painters.Read More
Koeda Shigeaki was born in Kyoto in 1953. He studied painting at Kyoto Seika College until 1974. In the early 1990s, Shigeaki spent significant time in the United Kingdom developing his artwork; he studied at Goldsmiths in London as part of an art fellowship through the Japanese government. He was then selected as a Senior Research Fellow at the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford, and was later a Visiting Artist at Modern Art Oxford.
Since the 1980s, Koeda Shigeaki has developed a practice that combines both painting and photography. Work on his major series Flowers-between the eyes began in 2003, when he started to develop Lambda prints of colourful and vibrant flowers. The finished series includes 100 Lambda prints representing 100 flowers. He makes each work by setting a flower behind a glass plate and painting it with watercolours. He then lights and photographs the image to be printed as a Lambda print. Fittingly, each artwork is 100 x 100 cm; these large depictions of small flowers therefore make a striking impact on the viewer when exhibited.
The artist was inspired by Edo painter Ito Jakuchu, whose intricate yet innovative 18th century paintings also represent traditional Japanese subjects of flowers and animals. Koeda Shigeaki especially looked to the Hanamaru-zu mural at the Kotohira-gu Shrine, which depicts 201 meticulously rendered flowers in a grid form. Koeda Shigeaki's series of equally sized prints replicates Ito Jakuchu's seriality in illustrating Japanese fauna.
He has also investigated nature through sculpture since 2008, creating intricate ceramic flowers, as well as sculptures of dogs and rabbits. In addition, he has experimented throughout his career with acrylic and silkscreen, as well as acrylic on canvas, to represent flowers, still lifes, and animals.
Koeda Shigeaki's work is represented in various international public collections including the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire; Worcester Museum of Art, Massachusetts; Slaskie Art Museum, Katowice, Poland; Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan; and Wolfson College, University of Oxford.
His artwork is widely represented in Japanese public collections including Osaka Contemporary Art Center, Hyogo Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art, Shiga Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama Museum of Modern Art, Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art, and Yamanashi Museum of Modern Art, to name a few.
Koeda Shigeaki has received numerous awards including the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art Award, Kanagawa International Print Triennale (1998); Shemei Cultural Award, Shumei Cultural Foundation (1994); Grand Prize, Wakayama Print Biennale (1991); Hokkaido Modern Art Museum Award (1991); and the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Modern Art Award (1989).
Koeda Shigeaki's solo exhibitions include Rika Syounen no Yume 2, ArtZone Kaguraoka, Kyoto (2017); Gift from Flowers 2015, Kagoshima University Museum (2015); The View in the Distance, Spazio Brera Ginza, Tokyo (2008), Kouichi Fine Arts, Osaka (2007); and Gift from Flowers I-VI, Art Court Gallery, Osaka, White Gallery, Kogosima (2006), Imuru Art Gallery, Kyoto (2005), Gallery Sora, Naha, Kurisutaru Gallery, Morioka, ArtZone Kaguraoka, Kyoto (2004).
Group exhibitions include Setouchi Triennale, Takamijima Island (2022); Another History of Japanese Art: Masterpieces of Modern and Contemporary Prints, Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art (2020); Pop? Pop! Pop ♥, Wakayama Museum of Modern Art (2011); Kyoto Biennale, Museum of Kyoto (2008); From Kyoto to Krakow, Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology, Krakow, Poland (2007); Inflection of Photograph and Transformation of Images, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (2006); Contemporary Prints from Japan and Bulgaria, National Gallery for Foreign Art, Sofia, Bulgaria (2001).
Koeda Shigeaki's website can be found here and Koeda Shigeaki's Instagram can be found here.
Rachel Kubrick | Ocula | 2022