Tsuyoshi Higashijima: Water Self-Portraits

2014.10.4[sat] – 10.25[sat] 11:00 - 19:00 (Saturdays 11:00 - 17:00) Closed on Sundays, Mondays, National holidays

The painter Tsuyoshi Higashijima (1960-) has been searching for the attainableness of painting expressions by using his own body as a measuring device as if to sense invisible something through the lambency of light and air and scoop out the color that words cannot express.

Colored texture in dark navy, silver, black and reddish purple rises up like floating on the compiled brushwork as if chaos was gushing between symbolic images and substances. Higashijima brings out gradation of gentle lights and shadows on the surface of his paintings which absorb light like refrection on water, it refrects back to the viewer’s subconscious. His large-scale paintings that expand beyond one’s field of view penetrate rain and snow naturally onto its skin… As such, Higashijima’s consciousness in the last few years was devoted to his production of works that goes beyond the canvas and had constructed his unique “painting space” in the reality.

And now, Higashijima says that he has reached a milestone where it’s the time for him to look inwardly. At ARTCOURT Gallery, we aligned our focus with that of Higashijima’s and we are going to present a solo exhibition with its theme in portraits mostly. We will display “Untitled” (1988, pictured above), some never-released works from late 80s to early 90s and some most recent works, in the attempt to create a painting space that is very close to the core of Higashijima’s aesthetics.

Higashijima studied at Royal College of Art in London as a Rotary fellowship student from 1988. “Untitled” (1988), which is said to be produced right after his arrival to England, is composed with foggy light in silver gray, blue shadow of a man, massive arm thrown up, and a black pillar with dust, that revokes various scenes. Higashijima recalls that it happened in London that he “realized that [I] want to paint in the most earnest sense”. “Untitled” is an important piece that is considered as the first portrait by the artist as a painter. Between 1990 and 1997 when he was in New York, he continued to produce works in which he keenly focused on the surface of painting by aggressively increasing the size of the canvases he used, by incorporating collage using cloth and tiles, and by applying thick layers of synthetic resins, all while he was working as an assistant painter to Julian Schnabel (the starter of Neo Expressionism in 1980s).

Higashijima says that he draws images as his inspiration leads his hand and drops them on to the canvas. It is a painting made of layer after layer of his drawing process rather than he traces the shape he imagined. What is the real Tsuyoshi Higashijima who clings on his aesthetics by taking in time and surrounding environment while facing canvas quietly…? This exhibition will be a new preface to the creative theme “ambiguous virtue” which Higashijima has been taking on for almost 30 years.

Related events

  • Friday, October 10, 2014, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
    ◆ TALK & RECEPTION ◆ Talk with Kenjiro Hosaka (Principal Researcher, The National Museum of Mdern Art, Tokyo), Akira Yanagisawa and Tsuyoshi Higashijima
  • Friday, October 10, 2014, 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    ◆ TALK & RECEPTION ◆ Reception

  • *RSVP required for Talk. Please email to or call 06-6354-5444.
    Talk and Reception are free of charge.


Tsuyoshi Higashijima