Kuroda by Yûki Takahata - Plowing Gardener of the Multidimensional Cosmos

Aki Kuroda - Plowing Gardener of the Multidimensional Cosmos by Yûki Takahata 2010

Noticed in 1980 for his exhibition Les Ténèbres at the Galerie Maeght as well as at the 11th Biennale de Paris, Aki Kuroda has never ceased since then to create extremely diversified works, driven by an ever-renewed inspiration. An artist with deep resources, he clears “passages” between various worlds: modernism and contemporary art, East and West, the body and the cosmos, mythology and the future. His paintings such as the series of monochromes, the works with the silhouette of a caryatid or with a minotaur motif are well known, but his creation extends to other modes of expression: engraving, sculpture, fresco, photography , decor and scenography, installations etc. Since the 90s in particular, he has pursued an original attempt which he calls Cosmogarden (Garden of the Cosmos), a sort of show-performance which he creates in collaboration with artists working in fields such as contemporary dance or architecture. .

Since the time of Fujita, at the beginning of the 20th century, many Japanese painters have settled in Paris. But none of them had such fruitful relationships like Aki Kuroda, marked by exchanges and reciprocal inspiration, with French authors and intellectuals. We can cite Marguerite Duras who wrote the preface to the catalog of his first exhibition in Paris, but also the philosophers Jacques Derrida and Michel Serre who participated in Noise , a new kind of artistic and cultural magazine he created with French writers in 1985. Aki Kuroda also befriended astrophysicists and psychoanalysts. Similarly, he engaged with the writer Pascal Quignard in a joint work resulting in canvases mixing text and painting. A tireless stroller, Aki Kuroda has always loved those hours spent sitting in cafes, after having wandered the streets for a long time, where chance has made him meet most of his people. It was in the bakery on the corner of his street that he met Michel Foucault, who made a very strong impression on him.

Aki Kuroda was born in Kyoto and grew up steeped in Western culture. In the family home, his father had a collection of the journal Le Minotaure , brought back from Paris before World War II. Starting to draw from the age of 3, the discovery of Picasso and Dali in his childhood was a shock for him. As a teenager, he was also influenced by Americans from the beat generation who lived in Kyoto. He thus realized his first happening when he was a student. A dynamic actor in Japan's counter-culture, the young Kuroda wants to escape from Kyoto, which he describes as a "garden city", and where the weight of tradition is suffocating him. He left to travel through Europe and the United States, then decided in 1970 to come and settle in Paris with his wife Mariko. He takes the time to soak up the atmosphere of the city, reads a lot, books and magazines, stays in Italy and Spain. This is the period when he will digest the different ingredients of his creation to come. In the mid-1970s, he again put himself in front of his paintings.

In his studio in the 14th arrondissement in Paris, we believe we see the different objects engaged in a permanent and joyful dialogue: the large paintings on the wall, the forms still in progress, or the model of a project... We are struck by the diversity of styles, his works ranging "from the pure calm of the Zen universe to the swarming of graffiti". Aki Kuroda compares them to the Aeolian Islands. And he likes to go from one island to another. Each with its own universe was born from an underwater volcano but they are all creations of the same magma. Today, he says he is more and more attracted to meetings for joint creations, where he can confront artists working in other fields, such as for the sets and costumes of the mythical ballet Parade choreographed by Angelin Preljocaj in 1993, or the artistic work and layout of the Tokyo Dôme hall (in 2008). Starting originally from the very personal gesture of painting, Aki Kuroda's space has expanded to include the entire studio. But he says he wants to expand his “space” even further outwards to free him up in the city.

This desire for openness is revived by its philosophy of the city. For Aki Kuroda, a city designed and planned to satisfy rational and economic demands and needs will not work, because it will be too cold. “The artist must create a different space in the city, something twisted, a fallow land, so that people can rediscover the human dimension. he said. In Kyoto, the young Kuroda had already tried to trace his secret "passage", hiding small objects here and there, in order to create "his personal plan" of the city. He fears that human societies will be driven to the brink of disintegration like the destruction of our planet Earth. This is why he insists on the need to counterbalance the modernist conception and the vertical thought of the West with “horizontal” passages that are richer in complexity, playful, and encouraging humour. Not by practicing an "art of entertaining events" which would only provoke stimuli encouraging consumption, but by acts likely to involve human participation and create a warm atmosphere of life. Thus, Cosmogarden is a meeting garden that involves all the actors, from creators to spectators. “The Cosmos, the city, my brain, my body… Cosmogarden is all that and more,” he says. By using his eyes, his hands and an overflowing imagination, Aki Kuroda remains a tireless gardener who plows the multidimensional universe.

Aki Kuroda - Plowing Gardener of the Multidimensional Cosmos by Yûki Takahata 2010