Whitestone Gallery Hong Kong is proud to present Go Yayanagi’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong “The New Encounter is Art !.” More than 20 paintings spanning the artist’s career from the 1970s to the present will be showcased at the gallery’s Hollywood Road space through 26th May to 25th June.
After dropping out from the university in 1953, Go Yayanagi traveled to Brazil and lived in São Paulo from 1957 to 1959. This encounter with a new place, culture, and the vibrant beauty of the tropical climate inspired the artist and he started to adopt more vivid colors into his paintings. It was also in Brazil where he first practiced the concept of the environmental art that incorporates environmental sustainability. He traveled further other continents such as Asia and Africa and developed all new experiences into his art forms including oil painting, printmaking, sculpture, stained glass, public murals and fashion designing as well. One of the leading art critics of post-war Japan Shinichi Segi noted this kind of Yayanagi’s practice “the beauty and strength concealed in a person’s life force is produces in Yayanagi’s art at the point where he reconstructs them within a visual space that is of the utmost freshness”.
Yayanagi’s oversea life also gave him a certain physical distance from post-war Japanese art scene and it made possible for the artist to cultivate his unique artistic style. Following his stay in Brazil in the 50s, Yayanagi lived in Paris where he studied printmaking between 1965 and 1968. From around that time, Yayanagi started to create paintings and prints with clean and refined black lines and bright colors, then later the artist named this style as “Pop Uki” which is a combination of two words of pop art and Ukiyo-e. He believes Ukiyo-e is a traditional Japanese form of pop art and he tries to reflect contemporary pop culture and his experiences through this tradition but in the new form of aesthetic approach. With this kind frontier spirit in this artistic practice, the artist was selected as Japanese representative for the 11th São Paulo Biennale in 1971.
Yayanagi re-constructs everyday lives and creates something new full of energy. For him, encountering new environments means expending his scope and opening doors to new dimension. Encountering new peoples, cultures and languages can be forms of art: “You have to be wide open and ready to go outside. Argue with others. It will become art, too.” Now the artist is in his early 80s, and he is vigorously active even more. This first solo exhibition in Hong Kong will be the artist’s open invitation to join his artistic practice and creation through this new encounter.
The Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA), Municipal Museum of Modern Art (Paris, France), National Library of France, (Paris, France), The São Paulo Museum of Art (São Paulo, Brazil), The Rockefeller Foundation (New York, USA), The National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Japan), Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art (Hokkaido, Japan), Hokkaido Obihiro Museum of Art (Hokkaido, Japan).