Matchbaco is very pleased to announce “RENDEZVOUS”, the solo exhibition by Shinji Ihara, to be held from December 5 to 27, 2015.
Shinji Ihara’s paintings focus on direct, intimate connections; he paints himself, people he loves and his close friends.
A naked man in a dusky room looks into the dim light of a refrigerator; a nude figure lies face down on the floor; a man cradling a cat in his arms looks directly at the viewer; another, smoking a cigarette, warms his naked body in front of a stove.
Many of his paintings are male figures, but not idealised males as antonyms of the female form, or muscular, sexualised males; Ihara paints real, flesh-and-blood figures that radiate a will to connect with others in the midst of desolate isolation.
Expressing the sorrow-filled base of human existence through the interplay of light and shadow, Ihara paints in dense, detailed brush strokes, as if placing tiny jewels one by one on the canvas.
“Loneliness can derail a person”, he says. In a dialogue with himself, he breathes a light into his paintings that stems from the deep humanity and existence of the corporeal body, from the richness of a world seen from a viewpoint of isolation, and from isolation itself.
“My works are born from a great variety of encounters” is the artist’s explanation of his theme, “RENDEZVOUS”.
This exhibition will comprise two stages; the《LIFE》series will be exhibited first and includes self-portraits and portraits of people in his life, while the《S》series will follow and comprises portraits of the painter Atsushi Suwa, known worldwide for his transgressive works.
In conjunction with the exhibition, matchbaco will produce an exhibition catalogue, “Shinji Ihara: RENDEZVOUS” (A5 full colour / 40 pages), in a limited edition of 100.
Born 1987 in Fukuoka prefecture. Ihara obtained M.F.A. in Oil Painting Materials and Techniques at Tokyo National University of the Arts in 2012. He is currently based in Hiroshima prefecture.
His major solo exhibition at former matchbaco, “RENDEZVOUS” (December, 2015) and “Hakata Gion Yamakasa Otoko E-zu” (July - August, 2016) last year, are still fresh in memory.
His works are already incorporated by the Hiroshima City University Museum and the Luciano Benetton Imago Mundi Collection.
Featuring primarily male figures, Shinji Ihara looks to his close friends, his loved ones, and himself, exploring how one exist in relationship to others. Titillating and drawing the viewer into solitude and an inner esoteric world, his paintings hold a unique fixation; as a viewer, one is confronted with disquieting palpitations within our innermost primeval selves.
Ihara has had three major series of works so far. The MATSURI series feature his hometown Fukuoka’s feisty festival, the “Hakata Gion Yamakasa”. The LIFE series include portraits of himself and people in his life, while the S series portrays painter Atsushi Suwa.
- "RENDEZVOUS" published by matchbaco, 2015