Yuichi Hirako Biography

Japanese artist Yuichi Hirako works with painting, sculpture, and drawing to reconsider the coexistence and boundaries between plants, nature, and humans in modern society. The artist approaches this theme through the lens of Japanese folklore and landscape, as well as his experience in London as a student.

Read More

Early Life

Born in Okayama, Japan, Yuichi Hirako moved to London to study Painting at the Wimbledon College of Arts, graduating in 2006. Today, the artist lives and works in Tokyo.

His years spent in London were crucial in defining the subject matter of his practice. Having grown up in a rural mountainous region in Southern Japan, London's urban green areas of roadside trees and enclosed parks prompted Hirako to reconsider the relationship between humans and their surroundings.

Shinto Legend of Kodoma

Yuichi's early works invoked the Shinto legend of kodoma—where spirits were believed to inhabit trees—stemming from an ongoing Japanese tradition where trees are venerated for their deep connection with time.

As noted by Stephanie Bailey for Ocula Magazine, 'From canvas to canvas, there is a sense that Yuchi intends to bring kodama—or any other myth connecting the natural world with supernatural life—out of the woods so that they might speak to any audience whose connection with nature has been weakened, if obscured.'

Mount Mariana

Yuichi Hirako's fascination with nature and its relationship with time culminated in his solo exhibition Mount Mariana (2021) at Gallery Baton, Seoul.

Taking its name from the earth's deepest ocean trench, the exhibition combines classical art forms—namely, the surreal fruit and vegetable 'Composite Heads' series of 16th-century court painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo—with Japanese folklore and the notion of Deep Ecology, which unites 'all living beings as dependant existences on others within a single ecosystem.'

Building on his fascination with kodama, this series of artworks, which includes Gift 15, Lost in Thought 65, and Nonchooser 10 (all 2021), is set in a fantastical woodland inhabited by Hirako's fictional half-human, half-tree character 'Tree Man'.

Hirako's contrasting colour palette results in mystical, ominous, yet strangely alluring scenes, while 'his surreal figurative paintings rendered in bold, painterly brushstrokes are indicative of a global trend in contemporary paintings,' as Rory Mitchell remarks in Ocula Advisory.

Private and Public Collections

Hirako's work is held in the collections of the Long Museum, Shanghai; Shanghai Powerlong Museum; Lisser Art Museum (LAM), Lisse, Netherlands; Akzonobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam; Jean Pigozzi Collection, Switzerland; and Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Japan.

Yuchi has been the recipient of numerous awards, including The VOCA Encouragement Prize in 2013 the Outstanding Performance Award at the D Art Biennale in 2011, and the Tokyo Wonder Wall Prize in 2010.

Solo and Group Exhibitions

Yuichi Hirako's solo exhibitions include Mount Mariana, Gallery Baton, Seoul (2021); Growth Rings, Warehouse Gallery, Hong Kong (2020); Memories, WAITINGROOM, Tokyo (2019); Lycoris, Satellite, Okayama (2019); Dandelion, Zerp Galerie, Rotterdam (2019); Project N 71, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (2018); Leftover, Dai-ichi Life Gallery, Tokyo (2018); BLOOM, YIRI ARTS Taipei Space Taiwan(2018); Seeding, YIRI ARTS, Taichung Space, Taiwan (2018); SPROUT, Galleri Christoffer Egelund, Copenhagen (2017); Haze, Satellite, Okayama (2016); and Our way to the Forest, Fouladi Projects, San Francisco (2016).

Hirako's group exhibitions include DOMESTICITY, Volery Gallery, Dubai (2021); Tokyo☆Voca, Dai-ichi Life Gallery, Tokyo (2020); Mr.I group show, Satellite, Okayama (2020); Salon d'Hiver, Zerp Galerie, Rotterdam (2019); Cygnus Loop, Gallery Baton, Seoul (2019); LIGHT, NON-LIGHT, Chapter II, Seoul (2018); Musubi, Galerie Da-End, Paris (2018); Après Toronto, Laroche/Joncas, Montréal (2017); Egg of Shibuya, Shibuya City Hall, Tokyo (2015); Considering the Source, Fouladi Projects, San Francisco (2013); VOCA Prize 2013, Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo (2013); Tokyo Painting II Mind-scape between interior and exterior, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (2013); Tokyo Wonder Wall 2010, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2010); and The 10th Gunma Biennale for Young Artists 2010, The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma.

Yuichi Hirako's website can be found here.

Annabel Downes | Ocula | 2021

Yuichi Hirako
featured artworks

View 19 More
My Phantom 41 by Yuichi Hirako contemporary artwork painting, sculpture
Yuichi Hirako My Phantom 41, 2018 Wood and paint
29 x 13 cm
Gin Huang Gallery Request Price & Availability
Lost in Thought 207 by Yuichi Hirako contemporary artwork painting
Yuichi Hirako Lost in Thought 207, 2024 Acrylic on canvas
194 x 162 cm
Gallery Baton Request Price & Availability
Lost in Thought 110 by Yuichi Hirako contemporary artwork painting
Yuichi Hirako Lost in Thought 110, 2023 Acrylic on canvas
194 x 259 cm
Gallery Baton Request Price & Availability
Wooden Wood 64 by Yuichi Hirako contemporary artwork sculpture
Yuichi Hirako Wooden Wood 64, 2024 Acrylic on wood, total 44 pieces, installation dimensions variable
200 x 360 x 400 cm
Gallery Baton Request Price & Availability
Nonchooser 34 by Yuichi Hirako contemporary artwork painting
Yuichi Hirako Nonchooser 34, 2023 Acrylic on canvas
27.3 x 22 cm
The Modern Institute Request Price & Availability
Nonchooser 32 by Yuichi Hirako contemporary artwork painting
Yuichi Hirako Nonchooser 32, 2023 Acrylic on canvas
27.3 x 22 cm
The Modern Institute Request Price & Availability
Green Master 77 by Yuichi Hirako contemporary artwork painting
Yuichi Hirako Green Master 77, 2023 Acrylic on canvas
230 x 200 cm
The Modern Institute Request Price & Availability
View 19 More

Yuichi Hirako
recent exhibitions

View 3 More
View 3 More

Represented by this
Ocula Member Gallery

View 3 More

Yuichi Hirako in
Ocula Magazine

Learn more about the market for works
by Yuichi Hirako.
Enquire for a confidential discussion. Enquire Now
Simon Fisher, Ocula CEO
Ocula Advisor
Simon Fisher
Christoper Taylor, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Christopher Taylor
Eva Fuchs, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Eva Fuchs
Rory Mitchell, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Rory Mitchell

Yuichi Hirako in
Ocula Advisory

Yuichi Hirako in
video & audio

Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Follow Yuichi Hirako
Stay ahead.
3 new artworks have recently been added.
Receive updates on new artworks,
exhibitions and articles.
Your personal data is held in accordance with our privacy policy.
Follow
Do you have an Ocula account?
Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Get Access
Join Ocula to request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Do you have an Ocula account? Login
What best describes your interest in art?

Subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming exhibitions, available works, events and more.
By clicking Sign Up or Continue with Facebook or Google, you agree to Ocula's Terms & Conditions. Your personal data is held in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you for joining us. Just one more thing...
Soon you will receive an email asking you to complete registration. If you do not receive it then you can check and edit the email address you entered.
Close
Thank you for joining us.
You can now request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Close
Welcome back to Ocula
Enter your email address and password below to login.
Reset Password
Enter your email address to receive a password reset link.
Reset Link Sent
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.
Login