Artist: Atsushi Suwa - 諏訪 敦 (Hokkaido - Japan, born 1967)
Atsushi Suwa - 諏訪 敦 - “Sleepers”
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Atsushi Suwa was born September 18, 1967 in Hokkaido, Japan.
Is a hyper-realistic japanese painter.
Received a master’s degree from Musashino Art University in 1992.
He took up residence in Spain in 1994 as an overseas art schlorship under a program of Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs. During his sojourn there, he was awarded First Prize in an international painting competition sponsored by the Barcelo Foundation and launched into full-fledged activity as a professional artist.
Upon his return to Japan, Suwa continued his exploration of realism for the purpose of going back to the origins of painting.
In 2000, he unveiled works taking as their subject Kazuo Ohno, a pioneer of avant-garde “buto” dancing. He produced this series with Ohno’s cooperation, by communicating with and gathering information about the latter for an entire year. The methodology of this production exerted an immense influence on his subsequent approach to creation. Suwa begins by probing and engaging in dialogue with his subjects under a set of conditions he determines. Through the dialogue, he elicits the story, thought, and other elements making up the subject’s background. The process of communication with his subjects is an important factor for Suwa, and signals a break from realism in the classic sense, which does not go beyond the level of visual duplication of the subject.
Around this time, Suwa made the transition to the style of presenting series of works in solo shows.
In 2003, he exhibited his “Japanese Beauty” series combining paintings with interviews about personal history, with a focus on the gradations of sense of belonging among women in Japan. This was followed in 2006 by “Sleepers”, which consisted of paintings of women in bed, in poses that would normally be unseen by anyone, and grew out of his sharing of the life space of women who answered his general call for models for the project.
Amid widening recognition as an artist with a pronounced documentary-like streak, Suwa began work on the ongoing “Stereotype” series in 2008. In it, he actually reproduces stereotypical images of Japanese people, including mistaken and prejudiced ones, as motifs, and portrays them with a detached objectivism in the super-real sort of depiction that is his speciality. By so doing, he manifests his penetrating insight into a world in which the real mingles with the fake and reality is mixed into fiction.
His first solo exhibition in a museum, the ensuing “Realist with Compound Eyes” brought together Suwa’s past oeuvres under a single roof.
Suwa’s works are characterized by stunningly beautiful painting, but at the base of his outstanding technique one can glimpse an abiding spirit of respect and feeling of compassion for the subject. While his mental concentration is maintained on a high level of intensity, this sublime humanity seems to interlock with and animate his body, so that he paints as if weaving the thread of life with each stroke.
This is precisely why his creations possess the power to move the viewer so deeply.
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