Japanese artist Hirabayashi Takahiro (not to be confused with Takahiro Hirabayashi) infuses his religion’s mythology with the experience of growing up in his oil paintings. Using “boundaries” as a central theme, his dreamy portraits examine borders between the sky, land and sea, man and nature, childhood and adulthood, and how we navigate them. His main subjects are young girls who serve as a guide or guardian for those in this inbetween state of being. Considering their young age, they share in this delicate state.
Takahiro Hirabayashi is trained in traditional Japanese painting, but in his mixed-media work, he applies these age-old techniques to contemporary portraits with a sci-fi element. Hirabayashi’s characters seem to inhabit a world in decline. In many of his paintings, they appear with blood-like stains running from their mouths, and their skin often looks cracked to expose ripe, pink flesh. They seem to be disintegrating before our eyes, and the traces of their carnivorous feasts left on the front of their shirts hint at their desperation to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.
Coming up at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York, Tokyo’s Gallery Kogure will guest curate the exhibition “Japanese Human Sensors,” featuring work from Fuco Ueda (HF Vol. 31 cover artist), Takahiro Hirabayashi, Takato Yamamoto, and Yuko Soi. The exhibition opens on April 4 and will be on view through May 2. While Ueda is relatively well-known in the US compared to the other artists, curator Tomoko Kogure envisioned the exhibition as a way to show celebrated artists from his native country to a new audience. Though each is aesthetically different, the works in the show broach themes such as loneliness, sexuality, and dreams.