Kenjiro Okazaki — Topica Pictus / Rue de Turenne



Kenjiro Okazaki
Topica Pictus / Rue de Turenne

Past: March 20 → May 22, 2021

The gallery is open from Monday to Saturday by appointment

galerie frank elbaz is pleased to announce TOPICA PICTUS / Rue de Turenne, Kenjiro Okazaki’s first solo show with the gallery. From March to June 2020, Okazaki sheltered himself in his studio, producing over 150 works during this period of intense concentration. Topica Pictus is a series that pushes the concept of the « Zero Thumbnails » series to a new level. The unprecedented motifs, titles, and bold compositions of these new works are full of surprises and discoveries to stimulate us, the recipients, to think afresh from various perspectives.

« The Ability to Go Anywhere Because We Are Not able to Go Anywhere »

While we were unable to go anywhere and feeling depressed in a sealed time, Kenjiro Okazaki had gone on a long journey. It was a journey where he could visit anywhere, because he was unable to go anywhere. Okazaki says « there are numerous issues=locations, and inability to travel and change my physical location facilitated me to visit and stand in a number of places within paintings. That experience then allowed me to consider countless issues from a fresh perspective and find new solutions. » Okazaki named this collection, Topica Pictus. « Topica » means « related to topos ». Topos indicates « place » (topic) and Aristotle’s Topica is a theory on topos. On the other hand, « pictus » has a meaning in Latin, « a painted thing ». One could make an analogy that the theme of this collection is topos or topics. Okazaki identified places that such inquiries are hiding, and traveled to those « places (topos) involved in a specific consideration and discussion of the inqueries » through creating over 140 « Zero Thumbnail » works. The approach is consistent with his writing (criticism).

« Zero thumbnails » are physically small but the assumed sizes vary depending on the topics. In other words, the actual size is not relevant when it is created. Due to ther size, physically there are severe limitations, so called degree of freedom, making it even more critical to overcome those challenges. » forceful brush strokes with speed onto the small frame. The stroke and the pressure on the brush are as stronger even stronger than that used for a two meter sized painting. Same goes for the speed. The actual body movements expand beyond the frame, and it is possible that the frame is dislodged from the wall and fly away. The reame is folding in these brush strokes with varying directions and intensity, so it is onerous to control the details, requiring precision as if trying to shoot a soccer ball with full force into a narrow gap.

Further, in order to build up a thick layer of paint, with complicated layering of paint that obscures the order in which the paint was applied, it requires a number of repetitious applications and scraping maneuvers until there are mounds of paint on the foor. The titles of these « Zero Thumbnails » are like an index. Eden, Faulkner, Fragonard, Rococo, Courbet Ornan’s Burial, Mondrian, Rewind Time, The Happy Prince, De Kooning, Minoan Civilization, El Greco […] etc. Each title is a riddle, a clue to untangle topics that are all different and suprisingly diverse. Each of them has a different context and discloses a distinct location. It is hard to believe that these works were all painted in a short window of time at a same physical location, and the delight to jet set accross history and time periods while staying in.

Urara Nakamura, Excerpts from TOPICA PICTUS, Kenjiro Okazaki

Kenjiro Okazaki (born in 1955 in Tokyo) is an Artist, Critic and Visiting Professor of Musashino Art University. He lives works in Tokyo. Kenjiro Okazaki is a Japanese visual artist whose works span over several genres, including painting, sculpture, as well as landscape and architecture. Many of his works has been featured in public collections throughout Japan and in various exhibitions around the world. In 2002, Okazaki was selected of the director of the Japanese pavilion of the International Architecture Exhibition in Venice Biennale. His works include a collaborative performance ‘I Love my Robot’ with the choreographer Trisha Brown, premiered in early 2007. He received Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (HMSG) in 2014. Okazaki is also extremely active as a theoretician and critic, and is the author or co-author of several books, including Renaissance: Condition of Experience (Bunshun Gakugei Library, 2015) featuring his analysis of Filippo Brunelleschi, and Abstract Art as Impact: The Concrete Genealogy of Abstract Art (Akishobo, 2018) received the Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts in 2019.

Frank Elbaz Gallery Gallery
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66, rue de Turenne

75003 Paris

T. 01 48 87 50 04

Saint-Sébastien – Froissart

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM
Other times by appointment

The artist

  • Kenjiro Okazaki