Hiroshi Sugito

Oct 29 – Dec 12, 2004

Galeria Fortes Vilaça

Galeria Fortes Vilaça is pleased to present new works by Hiroshi Sugito. Sugito is part of a generation of artists-such as Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami-who attracted international attention to contemporary Japanese art in the 1990s. While Sugito's two colleagues make direct references to manga (characters from contemporary cartoon art), Sugito has turned to the tradition of Japanese painting for the principal inspiration of his paintings. This is the artist's second solo exhibition in São Paulo.

Hiroshi Sugito constructs dreamlike landscapes, settings, and creatures that portray childhood memories and fantasies with an adult vision and sophistication. His language floats between figurative representation and geometric composition in evanescent tones, transparencies, and superimpositions.

Sketch for the spider, one of the paintings in the exhibition, shows two children in a portrait pose. As in a child's simplified perspective, the planes are superimposed and blend into each other. The two figures appear at a table, or behind a counter, as if they were dolls in a marionette theater. Their faces are merely suggested by smoky dots in place of eyes and rosy dots for cheeks. In the background, a pattern of dark tones suggests a curtain, reinforcing the idea of theatricality, recurrent in the artist's work.

Sugito articulates in a personal way references to Western painting-such as that of Robert Ryman and Agnes Martin-and to the traditional Japanese Nihonga style. Nihonga developed as a result of the introduction of Western aesthetics into Japan in the second half of the 19th century. The paintings of Sugito, as of the Nihonga artists, incorporates and synthesizes the methods and traditions of various schools of traditional Japanese painting, while also assimilating techniques from Western figurative painting, such as perspective and shadow. Sugito studied Nihonga together with Yoshitomo Nara, with whom he currently works in partnership. Nara and Sugito will open an exhibition of collaborative paintings in the Pinakothek der Moderne – Kunst München in Munich in November.

Since the 1990s, Hiroshi Sugito has exhibited regularly in museums and galleries in Japan, Europe, and the United States. He was included in the acclaimed exhibition Painting at the Edge of The World, curated by Douglas Fogle for the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA, in 2001.