Keisuke Watanabe

books

In the shade of a tree

Perceiving with my own eyes and learning from nature; to draw in nature is at first to gaze on myself as I am, feeling, SymPathizing, and being filled with heart-warming wonders. I value works that have evolved through such a process. I always seek spiritual foundations and revelations by which to paint pictures, searching where they come from.
Residing on Bali Island in 1989 started out with a wonderful experience of life in the forest of Ubud village: "...Nature, in the morning and at dusk, is really impressive. Every morning and evening, young girls come by offering pretty flowers and beautiful rice cake sweets. The way they pray is awe-inspiring and refreshing. Gods and nature exist, and let humans live. How deeply tied to nature humans are!"
Studying at Salzburg Art Academy in 1994 was a good opportunity where people with ambitions from every country gathered and applied themselves to work with free motifs. Professor Jacobo Borges' class was rich in originality and demanded that everyone create with individual sensibillty, which made me develop new expressions and horizons.
In 1996, I had an exhibition at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing as a project for the Japan Foundation thanks to support from people like Professor Guang Jun of the Academy, Director Naoaki Uchiyama of the Kyoto Branch of the Foundation, Manager Akira Oguma of the Beijing Office of the Foundation, and others. My friend Wu Changjiang busied himself for my interest in private and public matters. His help offered me an opportunity to deepen my friendship with Chinese people, such as university professors and art lovers. Moreover, he provided this book with a foreword, expressing his knowledgeable insight and generous advice which I deeply appreciate. His wife, An Nian-Nian and their son, Wu Hao, also supported me.
The idea of 1997's excursion to Tibet was from Mr. Wu's recommendation. Simple people, scenery and animals with profbund gazes in Tibet live in his works, which became real on this tour, and filled me with many wonders. The religion there is life itself, and possesses the humbling greatness of nature.
1998's Private Exhibition, "Beijing Exhibit and on to the Sheng Boli Mountains" was meant to be a report to my father who had passed away from illness without seeing the exhibit, so it was held at Gallery Marya near his home in Takatsuki. I intended my work, "Peach Morning" to pay tribute to his memory. The sacred place tormented me with its over 5,000m altitude, but it tremendously cleansed my heart.
Also in 1998, my trip to Mongolia was with Yang Min who helped me in the Beijing Exhibition, and made me feel secure. Working under the August sun caused me to suffer from heatstroke, however. The Milky Way and some streaks of shooting stars I saw over Yinchuan that night gave me a mysterious experience of time and space (Work: "Nacht und Nacht, Mongolia").
Lively things that move boldly and light that changes every moment interest me. Human figures are important motifs because they offered me an opportunity to start painting. So are landscapes. I frequent the Bunraku theater in Osaka to pursue its artistic modulation of the puppets and the stage. I also visit Kiso to see Kabuki every year, chatting in the dressing room, which eventually becomes my workplace immersed in Kabuki.
The people whom I met through art are invaluable assets. I am grateful to Professor Yoshinori Matsuyama for his preface. I would also like to express my deep gratitude to Gallery Masago, who always helped me, as well as others who supported me in many ways.

Keisuke Watanabe