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Tetsuya’s Surrealist Tokyo

June 02, 2014
Tetsuya Ishida: Notes, Evidence of Dreams
Most visitors to Tokyo see a thoroughly modern metropolis; a bustling, well-organised and energetic city of inventiveness, colour and contrast. But the acclaimed paintings of the late Japanese artist Tetsuya Ishida portray a very different image of Japan, one that is characterised by sameness, emotional isolation and industrialised entrapment.

Ishida’s highly surrealist paintings of man meshed with machine skillfully capture the tangible sense of cyclical hopelessness that took hold of Japan during the ‘lost decade’ of the dire 1990s economic recession and, some argue, is still evident in facets of Japanese culture today. The current exhibition at the Hiratsuka Museum of Art is the most cohesive collection of Ishida’s paintings and drawings to be shown since the artist’s untimely death aged 31 in a train accident that some speculated was suicide. The 108 major works and 51 unpublished sketchbooks, including some of Ishida’s most well-known and awarded paintings, depict a satirised perspective of a suffocating, systematised state where people are dehumanised and completely devoid of creativity and individuality. This exhibition isn’t exactly a cheery caper but it’s compelling viewing for visitors who want to see a side of modern Japan that is rarely artistically explored.

Until 15 June.

1-3-3 Nishiyawata / Hiratsuka-shi / 9:30 am-5:00 pm Tue-Sun, closed Mon / +81 4 6335 2111 /