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Toshiyuki Konishi (1980-)

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Toshiyuki Konishi Biography

Born in 1980 in Hiroshima, Japan. Currently lives and works in Hiroshima.

Toshiyuki Konishi paints portraits which obscure identities but reveal a deeper universalism that transcends portraiture. Konishi’s early style was readily identifiable by the figure’s white skin and hair, and the bright red paint used to render the eyes, nose and mouth. Konishi starts by referring to photographs from his family albums or of people close to him, however, the real subject of the works go beyond simply recording private memories and intimate family moments. Continually pushing the limits of his unique style, Konishi experiments with compositions while capturing the essence of humanity.

Toshiyuki Konishi began his artistic career in earnest after completing his postgraduate studies at the Musashino Art University in 2007, and he held his first solo exhibition at the end of that year, titled House of Human. From the outset, he has been engaged in how to reconcile his personal history and the concept of the family unit with something universal. House of Human was first exhibited as his graduation piece, where the works were exhibited in and around a domestic space he constructed within the gallery. In these traditionally-posed portraits, the red facial features and undulating brush strokes do more than simply mask the defining characteristics of his family members; they unconsciously ask how we perceive the very existence of human beings. His paintings are both unsettling and comforting at the same time—stripping humanity down to its core. This very essence may simply be remnants of our own impressions or a visceral, sensual reaction.

In his solo exhibition One as All (2009), he wrote that “there is no way to escape the bind of the ‘individual’ even when attempting to speak about the ‘all,’ and yet that one still can’t help but to speak about it.” This exhibition was marked by works relatable to people of all generations, including a painting of a young child (possibly the artist himself). Yet, despite the few clues given, each painting remains ambiguous as to the gender, age, or ethnicity of the model, or the era they are from.

In Konishi’s 2014 series, Human Behavior, he broadened his expression using bright, colourful, and deliberate straight lines, delighting in the formalistic potential of his unique style. The figures retain the same skin tones and minimally-rendered facial features of previous series, but their bodies are expressed in swiftly-executed, expressive brushstrokes. In one, against a deep blue floor and wall, an adult figure is clutching a small figure on a cold-coloured floor, while light streams in from a small window above. In this highly-charged emotional scene, their relationship and the situation are left to the viewers’ interpretations. As a painter, Konishi starts by drawing unconsciously without any paticular reason but finds it afterwards by looking back at his own behaviour. Therefore to him this process is a way to perceive human behaviour as it truly is. By depicting this in his art, Konishi leads us to see a broader meaning of humanity and sensuality.

Toshiyuki Konishi is a promising artist who is acclaimed both in Japan and internationally, having participated in numerous group exhibitions such as at VOCA 2009 – Ueno Royal Museum Tokyo, The National Museum of Art Osaka, Japan, the SOMA Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea, and Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Japan. He also showed at the Nada Art Fair Miami Beach 2010, USA; and Art Basel Hong Kong 2014.

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Toshiyuki Konishi Sold at AuctionView all Toshiyuki Konishi Sold at Auction

  • KONISHI TOSHIYUKI  UNTITLED | Untitled, Toshiyuki Konishi, Click for value View Details

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