4-11-11 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo 150-0001 JAPAN
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Ryo Hirano

Installation view, artwork: Ryo Hirano

  • Installation view, artwork: Ryo Hirano
  • Installation view, artwork: Ryo Hirano
  • Installation view, artwork: Ryo Hirano
  • Installation view, artwork: Ryo Hirano
  • Installation view with Ryo Hirano, <em>Boy</em>
Sakurado Fine Arts is pleased to announce a solo presentation of works by Ryo Hirano, Emerging from the Void, which brings together for the first time since 2000, an intimate selection of twenty works on canvas and paper executed between the 1970s and 1990, representing Hirano’s concise and mature approach to abstraction.

Born in 1927 in Oita, Ryo Hirano was a self-taught Japanese artist who entered the art scene in the late 1950s and continued to produce work until his death in 1992. Little known outside his home country, his body of work consists of drawings and paintings on the themes of the human figure and landscape, depicted in an expressive abstract style. During his lifetime, Hirano distanced himself from the capital, working in the suburbs of Kitakyushu in the western part of Japan.

As if responding to the chaos of the postwar era, void and darkness lie at the inception of Hirano’s work. Often depicting images from nature such as insects and plants, self-portraits and scenes of destruction, rendered in an organic and at times grotesque style, the accumulation of lines and tactility of the paint are used to build ambiguous and suggestive forms which float in the pictorial space. The resulting images portray distorted human figures reduced to pure metaphysical being, capturing the fleeting space between light and darkness, known and unknown, life and death.

While deeply rooted in the psychological landscape of postwar Japanese society, Hirano’s work evolved in ebb and flow with the wider context of twentieth-century figurative art, with the influence of Alberto Giacometti, in particular, becoming evident in the early 1970s. Hirano’s expressive brushstrokes reflect the artist’s persistent fascination with humanity, its anxieties and alienation, revealing the often overlooked diversity of painterly expression within Japanese postwar art history.

Hirano’s museum retrospectives include The Ikeda Museum of 20th Century Art (1986), Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art (1987, 1997), and Central Museum, Tokyo (1990). His work is also included in several public collections, including those of the Fukuoka Prefectural Museum of Art and Oita Prefectural Art Museum.

*Please be advised that the gallery is closing at 16:00 on the last day of the exhibition, Feb. 23.