Yamaguchi was born in Chiba, Japan, in 1976. Chiba is a peaceful rural town with ocean, but most of its seashore is held by Japan’s most productive industrial district, with a number of huge tankers heading from the Pacific Ocean to Tokyo Bay. Being a high-achieving student, he studied chirography and classical Chinese after going to the School of Art and Design, University of Tsukuba, and he always thought that he would be a chirographer in the future. However, once he reproduced a classic ink-wash painting as he went to China Academy of Art in Hangzhou as an exchange student recommended by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and invited by Chinese government, he found himself in his element while improving his ink-wash painting skills with his techniques cultivated in chirography. This experience became a major turning point for him and, through trial and error, he thought that he could paint a picture if he replaced examples with “photos”, his hobby, which produced an ink-wash painting which looks like a photo.
While mainstream ink-wash paintings leave viewers with an allusive feeling and appeal to their imagination, he uniquely paints artificial structures with complex straight and curved lines and modern society people’s daily lives in detail with only a brush and inkstick. He is superb in his expression of light, which leaves white background of paper and silk to illuminate the subjects including an overhead view of a city, modern people dizzyingly crossing an intersection, railways with complex electrical wiring, a junction on an expressway with crossing curves, factory zones filling the seacoast, etc.
With his particular skill to paint the very object he sees, Yamaguchi puts a photo on one side and “copies” it. He skillfully uses different shades and depths of his ink, applies his gradation technique as he goes gradually from the center of focus somewhere on the shot to outside just the way human eyes do, and finishes with a soft impression. You might not distinguish his work from a black-and-white photo, but the ink-wash painting breathes as if it absorbs the viewer’s glance.
In addition to city landscape paintings, his works include a postcard series, in which he paints on an old postcard the landscape of the era during which the postcard was issued and places his hand-carved seal, as well as a series of works with long-established building as their subjects, in which he paints the past, present and future of the building respectively on interlinked three panels.
GALLERY KOGURE exhibit small pieces in particular in this solo, including the work describing “passage of time” by minutes or seconds and paintings of flower life, post card series and construction site.
Artist Official Page