Artist to Watch: TENKI HIRAMATSU

When Tenki Hiramatsu begins to work on his small to midsize paintings, it starts with an intuitive process of painting and drawing, usually on a paper that is mounted on a wooden panel, sometimes on canvas. At first sight, his semi-abstract, colorful and vibrant paintings frequently streaked with hues of nocturnal brown or black reveal a cosmos full of sylvan spirits and therianthropes. However, the fantastical creatures populating Hiramatsu’s paintings appear even more rudimentary and subtle: With delicate brush strokes, they are often times drawn rather than painted. One can never be sure whether his figures are still in the process of becoming or whether they are already withering, fading, being brushed away. Hiramatsu is creating a visionary, new, outsider-like world in which nature, the history of painting and reflections of the human psyche merge. 

The artist, born in 1986 in Wakayama, Japan, works with oil paint on paper. This setup makes even the smallest gesture stand out. After studying art in Tokyo and focusing on drawing, Hiramatsu attended the Art Academy of Karlsruhe to study with Marcel van Eeden from 2016 to 2019. In his artistic work, painting and drawing develop organically, they become mutually dependent. Hiramatsu’s fragmented, unstable “creatures” are never planned beforehand, they materialize only in the process of painting. They formally react to the abstract base layer of each painting and spawn associative images and unconscious emotions alike, that paradoxically become “real” and true by being pure painting.

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