In her varied painterly practice, Aki Kondo employs bold colours and thick, decisive brushstrokes to contemplate and ultimately celebrate the scope of life and human emotion.Read More
Aki Kondo was studying at the Tohoku University of Art and Design when the Great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami occurred in 2011. Affected by the national trauma, Kondo created paintings to address the pervasive feelings of fear, grief, and confusion. In the large-scale painting Mountain Gods (2011), commissioned for the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, human figures and fragmented body parts in varying sizes are huddled together in a surreal, fluid-like composition.
Aki Kondo's meditation on the impacts of disaster continued with HIKARI (Light) (2015), a short film that combines live action and stop-motion animation to tell the story of a young woman named Juneko. When Juneko, suffering from an unspecified illness, passes away, she communicates with her lover through a painted portrait. The film also narrates the story of Mogeji, a strand of hair from Juneko's body, who shares his own experience with loss and mortality. In this poignant tale, Kondo ultimately highlights hope—the human resilience to live on in spite of devastating loss.
Writing for her online exhibition Flowers in the Heart for ShugoArts, Tokyo in 2020, Aki Kondo says that art and the 'flowers in our hearts' enable us to find peace and compassion for others. Representations of flowers also recur throughout her paintings, such as in Time Limits. Created for the group exhibition Fantasy Access Code at Milan's Royal Palace in 2017, the installation depicted brightly coloured flowers and abstracted natural forms in paintings that covered the walls from the ceiling to the floor, enveloping the viewer in a richly sensorial environment.
In 2021, ShugoArts organised the solo exhibition The Happiness that Exists Here to accompany the publication of Aki Kondo's first monograph. The 50 works in the exhibition range from paintings of flowers to mothers with infants, rendered in Kondo's characteristically bold and celebratory style.
Today Waiting for That Day and Tomorrow, ShugoArts, Tokyo (2018); From Island to Island, TKG+, Taipei (2017); HIKARI, Daiwa Foundation Japan House, London (2016).
The Sceneries and Portraits of the Eras, the Fukutake House Asia Gallery, Kagawa (2020); Takamatsu Art Museum Collection + Body and Movement, Takamatsu Art Museum, Japan (2018); Paintings Here And Now, Fuchu Art Museum, Tokyo (2018); Physiology of Art or Meditation of Transcendent Taste, Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Nagano (2017); Takahashi Collection: Mirror Neuron, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (2015); VOCA, The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo (2013); Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (2012).
Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2021