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Masanobu ISHII "Literature"

Masanobu ISHII
Period:Saturday, March 18, 2017 - Sunday, March 26, 2017
Venue:211:AI KOWADA GALLERY / Open Letter

AI KOWADA GALLERY is pleased to present "Literature" the first solo show of Masanobu Ishii with the gallery.

Ishii won the public's acclaim for his illustrations for "For the End of Matinee", a serial novel by Keiichiro Hirano in the Mainichi Shimbun and also by creating an advertising poster for the exhibition that featured "Attack on Titans," a popular manga work of an international recognition. This show is going to present recent drawings that Ishii has done inspired by some of the famous works in the modern Japanese literature.

Ishii, who belongs to a generation that already had digital media as their natural environment when growing up immersed himself in the world of visual expressions and had aversion to reading and writing, being aware of his incompetence in those areas.

It was in 2015, when he was commissioned to do illustrations for Hirano's novel that he was forced to confront with written expressions, which he evaded all his life. Contrary to an initial anxiety he had about the project, the over three hundred illustrations that he produced as interpretations of Hirano's text were widely appreciated; in the spring of 2016, they were presented in Shibuya Hikarie in the form of an art show.

This successful experience gave Ishii a great deal of confidence and stirred his interest in the world of literature, consequently urging him to create art that has connection to it. Hence, he selected a number of literary texts from which to draw his inspirations from among modern Japanese novels and created the list below. Coincidentally, the writers in the list were all contemporaries of a print maker Max Klinger (1857-1920), a predecessor to the Surrealists who also greatly influenced Ishii's work.

"The Female Student" by Osamu Dazai
"The Diary of a Mayfly" by Tatsuo Hori
"The Three-Corned World" by Soseki Natsume
"On Corruption" by Ango Sakaguchi
"The Lemon" by Motojiro Kajii
"The Tatoo" by Junichiro Tanizaki
"The Moon over the Mountain" by Atsushi Nakajima
"The Surgery Room" by Kyoka Izumi
"In the Woods" by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Whereas Klinger worked in the medium of copper print, Ishii uses a pen and ink to yield the lines that are at once delicate and strong. According to Ishii, he focused on rendering in each drawing a natural impression that his intuition received from reading a text of his choice rather than persisting on its correct interpretation. The imageries borne out of the artist's unique reading experience are sure to enchant the viewers with their mesmerizingly fantastic vision and fine elaborateness.

Artist's biography:

1985 Born in Numazu, Shizuoka.
Graduated from Nihon University College of Art with the major in communication design.
2010 Started to work for Kaibutsu Inc. , where he accomplished: The design for an advertising poster for the exhibition 'Attack on Titan'; The visual design for 'Real Escape Game'; The Illustrations for a serial novel 'For the End of Matinee' by Keiichiro Hirano in the Mainichi Shimbun; The book design of 'For the End of Matinee.'

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