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  • Kenji Yoshida. photo © Jonathan Greet 2007

ARTISTS

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Kenji Yoshida

Yoshida was born in 1924 in Ikeda City (part of present day Osaka).  He studied art under the great Hayashi Kiyoshi and also Furukido Masaru, before those studies were interrupted by the war.  Selected for training as a kami-kaze pilot, as part of the Special Attack Squadrons of the Japanese Naval Air Force, Yoshida was extremely lucky to survive his teens – though the majority of his close friends were not so fortunate. After the close of hostilities, the memory of the traumatic experience of having walked so near to death spurred Yoshida to throw himself single-mindedly into his art again and devote himself to a sustained exploration of the life-affirming forces that he had seen so nearly extinguished.  From that point onwards the majority of his work has carried the single, haunting and most telling of all titles: Life.

In 1964, Yoshida moved to Paris where he lived until 2009. He trained with the renowned English artist Stanley Hayter, and worked for many years at Hayter’s well-known studio Atelier 17. In 1993 the quality of Yoshida’s work was recognised when he was honoured to be the first living artist ever to be given a solo exhibition at the Japanese Galleries of the British Museum.  During the Festival of Canterbury 2004, his magnificent octagonal installation, Sei-Mei, (Life-Force)could be seen in Canterbury Cathedral.  In 2006 the Chateau de Blois, in the Loire Valley held a major solo exhibition of his work. The October Gallery has shown regular exhibitions of Yoshida’s work since the early 90s, the most recent one being in 2007. Sadly, this wonderful artist passed away in Japan in 2009. His contribution to the exchange of culture between Japan and the West was acknowledged in a special programme broadcast by NHK (the Japanese National Broadcasting Service) in August 2010 timed to coincide with the commerative services for the cessation of the Pacific War.

Yoshida's marvelous canvases owe much to the traditional screens of his native Japan in their use of precious metals, gold, silver, copper and platinum, applied in thin sheets over a binding layer of Japanese lacquer. They can be construed as momentary apperceptions of the transcendent power of the life force stirring both within us and around us, allowing his audience privileged access to the serene beauty of an otherwise intangible series of linked progressions that describe the very processes of Life itself.

Artist’s Statement:
I paint to tell people about the critical importance of Life and Peace. Life brightens the most when Peace occurs.  Peace is supreme beauty.’

Exhibitions

Kenji Yoshida - A Celebration of Life
Inochi To Heiwa (Life and Peace)
Life Force - New Works By Kenji Yoshida

La Vie
KY280


La Vie
KY1058

La Vie
KY1059

La Vie
KY159

La Vie
KY1063


La Vie
KY1065

La Vie
KY1066

La Vie
KY1067

La Vie
KY1068


La Vie
KY1069

La Vie
KY1070

La Vie
KY1071

La Vie
KY1072


La Vie
KY1073

La Vie
KY1074

La Vie
KY1075

La Vie
KY1076


La Vie
KY1077

La Vie
KY1078

La Vie
KY1079

La Vie
KY228


La Vie
KY1081

La Vie
KY1082

La Vie
KY1083

La Vie
KY1084


La Vie
KY167

La Vie
KY1086

La Vie
KY1087

La Vie
KY1088


La Vie
KY1089

La Vie
KY1090

La Vie
KY1091

La Vie
KY1092


La Vie
KY1093

La Vie
KY1095

Mahashambhava
KY1096

La Vie
KY160


La Vie
KY220

La Vie
KY213

La Vie
KY214

La Vie
KY221


La Vie
KY226

La Vie
KY224

Inochi To Heiwa (Life and Peace)
KY111

La Vie
KY215


La Vie
KY207

La Vie
KY211

Inochi To Heiwa (Life and Peace)
KY129

La Vie
KY105


La Vie
KY217

La Vie
KY166

La Vie
KY219

La Vie
KY222


La Vie
KY218

La Vie
KYLife5

La Vie
KY171

La Vie
KY170


Inochi To Heiwa (Life and Peace)
KY115

Inochi To Heiwa (Life and Peace)
KY128

Inochi To Heiwa (Life and Peace)
KY136

La Vie
KY200

La Vie by Kenji Yoshida
La Vie
KY1038

La Vie
KY1036

La Vie
KY1037

La Vie
KY1035


La Vie
KY1040

La Vie
KY1041

La Vie
KY1042

La Vie
KY1043


La Vie
KY1044

La Vie
KY1046

La Vie
KY1047

La Vie
KY1048


La Vie
KY1049

La Vie
KY1050

La Vie
KY1045

La Vie
KY1051


Priére
KY1052

Vicissitudes
KY1053

Plan A L’espace
KY1054

Mythologue
KY1055


Croix dans la Coeur
KY260

Explorateur
KY267

Priére
KY265

Doctrine de Bouddha
KY266


Untitled
KY255

Deux Vies
KY261

Méditation (2)
KY257

Clé de la Vie
KY263


La Vie
KY250

Untitled
KY251

Untitled
KY252

Vie Eternelle
KY258


La Vie (Plenitude)
KY246

La Vie
KY1039

Untitled
KY242

La Vie
KY254


La Vie (Force)
KY276

L'Apparition de la Vie
KY239

Voyage
KY240

La Vie (éte)
KY241


Meditation
KY271

Mytologue
KY272

La Vie (L'Apparation)
KY273

La Vie
KY275


La Monde Bouddha
KY269

Cours de la Époque
KY270

Point de Vu
KY274

La Vie
KY253


La Vie
KY277

Fond
KY235

Untitled
KY231

Untitled
KY232


Energie de la Vie
KY236

Révelation
KY233

La Vie
KY234

L'Histoire du Cóeur
KY268


La Vie (Meditation)
KY238

La Vie
KY1034

Le Temps Fuit
KY264
La Vie by Kenji Yoshida
La Vie
KY206

La Vie by Kenji Yoshida
La Vie
KY203
La Vie by Kenji Yoshida
La Vie
KY204
La Vie by Kenji Yoshida
La Vie
KY205
La Vie by Kenji Yoshida
Fondement
KY201

La Vie by Kenji Yoshida
Evolution
KY202
La Vie by Kenji Yoshida
La Vida (Meditation) II

Untitled
KY249
 

Kenji Yoshida Biography

Yoshida had numerous solo exhibitions in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States and is represented in many prestigious collections around the world.

1924  Born in Ikeda City (Osaka) on May 24.
1943   Graduates as a teacher. Studies Art with Furukido Masaru Sensei, who told Yoshida: "Don't take up a rifle, take up painting". Furukido himself died in World War II.
  Commenced art studies with Hayashi Kiyoshi Sensei that continued until Hayashi's death in 1988.
   Joins the JNAF and trains as a kami-kaze pilot.
1945  At the end of the war returns to teaching in Osaka and continues his art education.
1951  Moves to Tokyo and works as an art teacher.
1964  Moves to Paris and joins Stanley William Hayter's 'Atelier 17'. This relationship lasts until Hayter's death in 1987.
1966   Participates in the founding of 'Atelier du Nord'.
1968   Goes to Israel and lives at the Shamir Kibbutz for two months. Travels in Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
1972  Meets Spanish sculptor Apelles Fenosa and begins a life long relationship lasting until Fenosa's death in 1987. From this year on travels frequently in Europe and the Middle East.
1983   Returns to Japan for a three month visit in search of the traditional, ancient Japanese spirit.
1986  Death of his wife, Hiroko.
1987  Visits Egypt, including Cairo, Alexandria, and in particular Luxor and the Valley of the Kings.
1989  First exhibition in the UK at the October Gallery.
1989  First visit to the USA, visits Biosphere 2, location of one multi-panelled works.
1990   Travels in Mexico and Cuba where he conceives his 'Maya Series'.
1991   Second exhibition at October Gallery.
1993  First living artist to be given a solo exhibition at the New Japanese Galleries of the British Museum.
1996   'Maya Series', Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City, touring to five cities in Mexico.
2000-2003  Large standing octagonal installation, Sei-mei, in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin; Norwich Cathedral and Canterbury Cathedral as part of the Festival of Canterbury.
2004   Life Force: New Works. The October Gallery, London.
2009   Died in Tokyo, February 24.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
1957   Maramatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1958   Maramatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1959   Maramatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1960   Maramatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1964   Takekawa Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1966   Hammarlund Kunsthandel, Oslo, Norway
1968   The Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, Haifa, Israel
1972   Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz, Linz, Austria
1973   Seibu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1974   Modern-Art Galerie, Vienna, Austria
1976   Fujiyoshi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1977   Galerie L’Estampille, Brussels, Belgium
1977   Gallerie Point W., Gaillard, France
1979   Galerie Aujourd’hui, Geneva, Switzerland
1982   L'Ecole de France, Geneva, Switzerland
1983   Art-Houre Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
1984   Galerie Galise, Thonon, France
1989   Château Sonderborg, Sonderborg, Denmark
1989   October Gallery, London, United Kingdom
1991   Glenn Green Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
1991   October Gallery, London, United Kingdom
1993   The British Museum, London, United Kingdom
1997   Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, Mexico
1998   Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Atenco de Yucatán, Mexico
1998   Museo de Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes, Mexico
2000   Christ Church Cathedral Dublin, Ireland
2001   Galerie Prisma, Bolzano, Italy
2001   Park Tower Hall, Tokyo, Japan
2002   Norwich Cathedral, Norwich, United Kingdom
2003   Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, United Kingdom
2003   October Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2006   Château de Blois, Blois, France
2007   October Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2008   UNESCO, Paris, France
2010   October Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Selected Collections
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France
Bibliothèque Royale, Brussels, Belgium
Museum of Modern Art, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
Museu de Arte Contemporânea, São Paulo, Brazil
Modern Art Museum, Norrköping, Sweden
American Artists Association, New York, USA
Ministry of Culture, Paris, France
Musée d’art moderne, Haifa, Israel
The Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, Haifa, Israel
Gerber Foundation, California, USA
The Royal Collection of Denmark
The British Museum, London, United Kingdom
Museo de Arte abstraccion de Zacatecas, Mexico
Private Collections
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil,
Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great
Britain, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands,
Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.
    
   
October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL Tel: + 44 (0)20 7242 7367 Fax: + 44 (0)20 7405 1851