First published on 20 February 2021
Moasato Kobayashi 'Paint of this Planet' at ShugoArts, Tokyo
ShugoArts is planning to focus on Paint of this Planet, an autobiographical novel by Masato Kobayashi, for our fourth online exhibition. In the first volume of the trilogy, released in 2018, Masato Kobayashi's fateful encounter with 'Sensei' leads him into the world of painting in this inspirational story during which the artist matures through his painting. In the second volume, the author leaves his studio in Japan and embarks on a dazzling pictorial adventure. The year is 1996, and in this volume, considered a masterpiece, the author's youth is illustrated as he travels around the international art scene and establishes his original painting style in which he is stretching canvas and painting simultaneously.
The reason why this series has been so well received is not only because of the story, but also because it shows with vivid realism how inseperable the life and works of the protagonist Masato Kobayashi are, and how the artist struggles with integrating his painting and the layers of his life events and thoughts, which engulf the background of his artistic practice.
The structure of the novel unfolds like a Bildungsroman, containing various scenes as they switch back and forth between different times and spaces with the protagonist's memories and thoughts as the starting point; this very process reminds us of the process of making a painting in which an artist creates paintings with his daily sketches that have accumulated over time. As the story progresses, the framework of Kobayashi's painting develops along with his growing consciousness in response to the changing reality, and his uplifting emotions turn into light and engender colour to his paintings. This structure is unique in that it forms both a novel and painting theory at the same time, and it can be said that Masato Kobayashi has developed a new way of expression.
This exhibition is an attempt to introduce a part of Kobayashi's paintings in the words of this extraordinary novel, and also to show two large works created in the 1990's online, which is when the novel is set.