Kounosuke Kawakami, Factory 2, 2006, acrylic, oil, plaster and resin on canvas, 85 x 60 cm, 33 1/2 x 23 1/2 in
Houldsworth presents a solo exhibition of paintings and collages by young Japanese painter Kounosuke Kawakami from 17 May to 18 June 2007. Running concurrently at APT Gallery, Deptford, Kawakami's works have been selected by Matthew Collings and Emma Biggs as part of Creekside Open Part One during May; and by Victoria Miro as part of Creekside Open Part Two in June.
Kounosuke Kawakami has a reverence for the old masters - he wants to achieve the same sense of painting that obfuscates the artist's hand. He wants his worlds to resonate like these paintings of a bygone era, which hang in timeless suspension in sacred spaces. This is an unlikely declaration - Kawakami's works seem much more influenced by the prints and images from his native Japan, than the chiaroscuro of renaissance scenes. And yet there is a sense of baroque filigree in his paintings and, in his collages, more than a hint of a classical sensibility. The historical influences and aspirations towards a self-effacing perfection found in the hand of the grand tradition, belies the exceptional immediacy of these works, which are undoubtedly influenced by the possibilities of computer collage and CGI worlds. However, the only part the computer plays for Kawakami is to create a fine analysis of colour palate for each piece. As is often true the most successful imaginings of the contemporary world occur in relation to the new media of the age and not through it. Hence the artist's hand and eye is ever present in these intricate collages and finessed paintings, but what they capture is a world of nightmarish disjointed fantasy - the experience of the technological extended self. Flat planes of carefully layered colour sit against the deep perspective of computer style architectural models. However, these places are very real; they are inspired by holiday brochure villas and industrial excesses of dams and factories.
As Susan Sontag said of the cinema of the 60s, at its best there is "a directness that entirely frees us from the itch to interpret," so we may give the same accolade to the best collage and drawing of the digital age. The medium of painting and collage (especially when combined) relates so intimately to the interface of the computer screen, that we are able to put aside interpretation and enter sensory abandonment. After all there can be no greater Claude Glass for our age than our own internet browser. Kawakami guides us with rare pleasure through a melted world, which is so removed from time, place and the politics of identity that we can only tentatively feel our way. He becomes the wizard of our dreams, lulling us deeper into white trees, painterly screensaver back drops and vertiginous architectures.
Kawakami's debut at Houldsworth was in Chaotic Order with Hiraki Sawa, Laura Ford and Robert Platt in October 2006. From 24-29 July 2007, he will be part of Tech-Mac-Mayacom at the Frank Lloyd Wright Building, Myounichikan, near Ikebukuro, Tokyo. An interview with Kawakami appears in this month's Useless Magazine, and he is also featured in the May issue of Dazed & Confused, Japan.
Kawakami's solo exhibition at Houldsworth runs until 18 June 2007.
For further information please contact Charlotte Perman on +44 (0)20 8969 6166 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Next show Julie Nord, Afternoon at the Fringe, 22 June - 21 July 2007