Aki Kuroda - Aki in a few lines

In his workshop, in 2019

Aki Kuroda is a Japanese artist who lives and works in Paris.

He was born on October 4, 1944 in Kyoto and began painting at the age of three. As a child, he was fascinated by the surrealist magazine Minotaure that his father received from Paris. Raised in a cultural environment, one of his ancestors was the first Japanese to visit Vincent van Gogh in his Parisian studio.
Aki Kuroda exhibited for the first time at the age of 10, he likes to say that he has been painting since he knew how to hold a brush.
Aki aged 5, Kyoto 1950.
In his youth, he met James Lee Byars who encouraged him to compose his first performances. Aki studied art history, traveled, stayed in New York then in Paris where he settled permanently in 1970.
He rarely visits museums, preferring the atmosphere of the city, the cafes, the streets. He stores images of places that fascinate him, Carnac, the squares of Rome, the palace of the Postman Cheval, the spooky garden of Bomarzo, the bullring and the Corridas of Seville... But above all, he likes to analyze the movement of passers-by in Paris.
Kuroda, installation, Nagoya, 1983
In the 1970s, in Paris, he created installations with dried beans, pieces of wood and fragments of plaster to which he gave the shape of pebbles which he painted then scattered in large boxes placed on the ground. Without an audience, he clandestinely performs a nighttime performance in the Luxembourg Gardens.
Aki Kuroda's first solo exhibition took place in 1978 in Germany. In 1980, he was selected for the 11th Paris Biennale and in 1994 for the Sao Paulo Biennale.
Kuroda for the European Summit in 1987
His works are regularly the subject of major exhibitions: Doland Museum in Shanghai, Museums of Modern Art in Tokyo and Osaka, European House of Photography in Paris, Museum of Imperial City in Beijing, National Museum in Bratislava, Maeght Foundation, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Municipal Gallery of Modern Art in Dublin, Bouvet-Ladubay Art Center in Saumur, Casa França-Brasil in Rio de Janeiro, as well as various art centers and galleries in Brazil, Ireland, Japan , Germany, Denmark and the United States…
Installation in the Chapel of the Hôtel Dieu in Troyes, 1989
Masterful public and private commissions mark his career. Aki Kuroda has created mural works for architects Tadao Ando, ​​Pistre & Valode, Studio Nikken Sekki and Richard Rogers. Works for the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Strasbourg, the National Customs School of Tourcoing (work listed in the supplementary inventory of historic monuments), the Leonard de Vinci University Center in La Défense, the Maison de la culture du Japan in Paris, the Mauboussin building in Tokyo, the Otemae Univerity in Japan, the Tokyo Dome City Hall or in a street in Paris, with a monumental painting facing the Ministry of Culture.
Kuroda for the Strasbourg Museum, the restaurant.

Aki Kuroda is closely linked to the literary world. Marguerite Duras accompanies her first exhibition at the Galerie Maeght with an original text. From 1985 to 1994, with Yoyo Maeght and Didier Ottinger - now deputy director of the Center Pompidou in Paris - they published Noise, an art magazine offering a comparison of original works by contemporary artists produced in lithography and unpublished texts by poets, writers and philosophers, a review in which Jacques Derrida, Michel Serres, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Anne Tronche, Yves Simon, Michel Foucault, Philippe Sollers, Pascal Quignard, Marcellin Pleynet participated, among others. In 1992 Noise received the Vasari Prize for best art magazine.

Hamlet illustrated by Aki Kuroda for Gallimard, 2017

In 2017, Éditions Gallimard gave him carte blanche to illustrate Shakespeare's Hamlet in a large volume embellished with 50 original drawings.

Aki Kuroda plays with space-time, the cosmos, the universe or reality. To nourish his imagination, he did not hesitate to get closer to great scientists, astrophysicists like Hubert Reeves, and continued his research with the designers of the Ariane rocket.

Aki Kuroda, “Passage of the Blue Hour” Show
Pompidou Center, 1989

In parallel with his pictorial work, Aki Kuroda creates performance shows in which he mixes different artistic forms. He designs sets for ballets such as Parade performed by Angelin Preljocaj for the Paris Opera and the Avignon Festival or Passage de l'heure bleue for the Center Georges Pompidou in Paris.

He says he is a man of passages between cultures, between the East and the West, between the refined calm of the Zen universe and the bustle of graffiti, between the soul and the body, between archaic myths and the future to invent.

Aki Kuroda develops his artistic research freely and in all forms, in painting, photography, sculpture, architecture, scenography, sets, installation, performance or happening.

Aki Kuroda, “Parade” for the Opéra Garnier in Paris
and the Avignon Festival, 1993