Yasuyoshi Botan: gone before flower

2016.01.10 [sun] - 02.06 [sat] 11:00-19:00 (Saturdays 11:00 -17:00) Closed on Sundays, Mondays and National holidays. *Open on Sunday January 10(11:00 -17:00)

[Basic Information]
Artcourt Gallery is presenting a solo exhibition of works by Yasuyoshi Botan, his first here in three years.
Botan was born in 1971 in Osaka. He studied painting in New York City, and after returning to Japan established himself in Tokyo, participating in numerous exhibitions there while producing new work. Selected for a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (U.S.A.) in 2012, Botan has built on his accomplishments and received a great deal of recognition for his art.
This will be his third solo exhibition at the gallery, and will include approximately twenty paintings with a focus on his latest work, as well as eight drawings produced during a residency in Sweden in September 2015.

[Concept of Works and Display]
Yasuyoshi Botan has endeavored to retain the fleeting nature of existence by way of its depiction, and to ascertain invisible, uncertain phenomena through works of painting. In line with such aims, Botan carefully observes the relationships of things that make up our world while dismantling their structures, and then reconstructs via his own rules of color and form to realize painting expressions imbued with mysterious stillness and emotion.

" More than a flower, even / human life is fleeting " *

To experience existences and domains that may seem clearly defined – of the self and the other, or the close-to-home and the faraway, for example – and that blend into each other or switch places on occasion and appear as things with extremely vague and fluid borders, to experience these is to witness manifestations of our world’s latent uncertainty and transience.
In this exhibition, on the basis of an underlying tone set with a section of verse from a waka poem that has been recited ever since Japan’s Heian Period (794-1185), Botan will attempt to bring out the uncertainness and complexity of these existentially linked relationships, by way of such phenomena of painting as the conflict of the materiality and representationality of the paint itself, the fusion of the abstract and the figurative, and the reversal of motif and background. Transforming color borders into horizons, and causing trees to emerge out of accumulations of brushstrokes, Botan’s wavering spaces switch back and forth between near and distant views. Motifs that one might expect to be central are concealed as vague silhouettes within progressions of abstract colors and shapes; and then one finds fragments of some object or other, things that could be omens or lingering suggestions, such as tree branches, rope and wisps of smoke, that are realistically depicted with precise lines.
When facing a picture that links these different elements like a code within a painting space that is quietly and ceaselessly changing phases, our awareness comes into contact with tensions produced between planes of vivid color and hints of things clad in detailed lines and the sense of breathing of an obscured presence, and we begin to open to the joy of seeing. By sharing the transience, the uncertainness, that resides in the painting space, between each and every one of us quiet exchanges and resonances arise… We hope you will join us in witnessing this deepening of Yasuyoshi Botan’s world of expression.

* The first verse of a classical waka poem that overlays feelings experienced on a person’s death and on seeing cherry blossoms fall, to convey the transience and uncertainness of our world and the fleeting nature of existence.
" Hana yori mo / hito koso ada ni / narinikere / izure o saki ni / koimu to ka mishi "
(More than a flower, even / human life is fleeting / Could one know which first / one would mourn?)
By the poet Ki no Mochiyuki, from Aisho (Laments), book sixteen of the Kokin Wakashu (tenth century “Collection of Japanese Poems of Ancient and Modern Times”).

Related events

  • Sunday, January 10, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    ◆Artist talk◆
    Artist talk: Yasuyoshi Botan and Tomio Sugaya (Chief Curator at Osaka City Museum of Modern Art)
  • Sunday, January 10, 3:00 PM〜5:00 PM

  • *RSVP required for Artist Talk. Please email to or call
    *Talk and Reception are free of charge.


Yasuyoshi Botan