Descending Painting: KOSAKU KANECHIKA

Sep 4 - Oct 9, 2021

KOSAKU KANECHIKA is pleased to present Noritaka Tatehana’s solo exhibition “Descending Painting” from September 4 to October 9, 2021.


Since his 2018 exhibition “Beyond the Vanishing Point,” Noritaka Tatehana has made use of aspects of perspective representation, such as the vanishing point and boundary lines, to study elements linking the two different perspectives of ‘shigan’, literally “this side (of the river),” denoting our world, and ‘taigan’, “the other side (of the river),” the other world. In his 2020 exhibition “Dual Dialogue,” he presented works that incorporated two different perspectives in a single work in his “Duality Painting” series.


This exhibition introduces Tatehana’s new “Descending Painting” series, which incorporates a multi-layered form of expression. In addition to being the product of the artist’s study of paintings with a three-dimensional aspect, the work is an expression of his keen interest in perspective. This study has also led to Tatehana’s unique understanding of bird’s-eye-views, such as those represented in the Edo era screen paintings ‘Rakuchu Rakugai Zu’ (“Scenes in and around the Capital”). Tatehana’s concept is to represent both the foreground and background spaces in inverse perspective using multiple layers in the painting as a method of expressing the perspective (vanishing point) of a bird’s-eye-view image – which is located outside the painting. This technique is also used in his new “Descending Layer” works, which employ several layers of glass.


Tatehana provided the following statement about the exhibition.


I have used my art to explore perspectives for reflecting on myself.
Life and death, memory and reality. Myself and others.
New values on “the other side” link the two perspectives.


Tatehana’s new “Descending Painting” series, from which the title for this exhibition was derived, was inspired by ‘Raigo-zu’ – images depicting Amida Buddha and a host of Bodhisattvas descending on a cloud to meet the faithful at their moment of death. In Tatehana’s version of ‘Raigo-zu’, the figures of Amida Buddha and the Bodhisattvas are replaced with bolts of lightning. In the Shinto religion, the motif of lightning is often used as a way to symbolize the attraction of divine spirits to ‘yorishiro’ (objects or animals that attract divine spirits to themselves). Tatehana’s works, which present a uniquely Japanese view of life and death from the perspective of life, death, and the boundary that separates them, is an example of the syncretic fusion of Shintoism and Buddhism, which embraces values of both religions.


Tatehana’s creative process centers around presenting new perspectives and worldviews by combining traditional values held in high regard by old Japan with contemporary cultural elements, and posing the question of whether they serve modern-day people.


We currently live at a time that calls for us to stop and view things from a different perspective. What hints can we take away from Tatehana’s art that will allow us to move forward? Noritaka Tatehana’s solo exhibition “Descending Painting” presents 35 new works with new insights to be found.