Shinichi Kaneko Homage to Hokusai
Darya
02/22/2024
4 min
0

The Dance of Life in the Art of Shunga Devotee Shinichi Kaneko

02/22/2024
4 min
0

Many avant-garde artists of the 20th century, whose works now cost a fortune, tried to push the limits of visual art and overcome its immobility. The first name that comes to mind is Jackson Pollock, with his rhythmic ornaments embodying motion itself. Making shunga his main inspiration, the Japanese artist Shinichi Kaneko depicts the entanglement of the floating world instead of a bunch of separate objects, thus masterfully combining Japanese tradition with avant-garde striving for dynamics.

Shinichi Kaneko artist

Fig. 1. Shinichi Kaneko (shinichikaneko.com)

  Shinichi Kaneko Homage to Hokusai

Fig. 2. Homage to Hokusai (Instagram.com)

Da Vinci circle Shinichi KanekoFig. 3. Da Vinci circle (Instagram.com)

shunga art Shinichi Kaneko

Fig. 4. Instagram.com

homage to Moronobu Shinichi Kaneko

Fig. 5. Homage to Moronobu (Instagram.com)

Tsukioka Yukitsune Niyoru Shunyohigi Izu Scroll 12 Limbs and Hands

Fig. 6. Tsukioka Yukitsune Niyoru Shunyohigi Izu Scroll 12 Limbs and Hands (Instagram.com)

Cosmic Order as Shunga Twister

Shinichi Kaneko was born in 1974 in Aichi. Twenty-five years old, he graduated from the Department of Design, Faculty of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts. Two years later, he completed a Master's Degree in Design at the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the same university. In 2013, Kaneko started creating the Couple series based on the art of shunga and gradually extended the theme to other media, such as sculpture, embroidery, and textile design. His attention is primarily attracted to the entangled limbs of the figures engaged in the intercourse. Kaneko's first solo show happened in 2004 at Ichy's Gallery in Tokyo. His works deserved a Prize at the Concrete Art Museum Exhibition in Aichi in 2005 and an Honorable Mention Award at the 9th Kiyosu City Haruhi Painting Triennale in Aichi in 2018. Apart from making art, from 2001 to 2015, he worked as a lecturer at the department where he once studied. As Kaneko says in his art statement, since the discovery of shunga, which happened in a period of creative block, everything in this world seems to him a tangle of limbs.

The Circle of Hands, cement, pigment, glass, wood, after Utagawa Kunitora’s Otome Sugata

Fig. 7. The Circle of Hands, cement, pigment, glass, wood, after Utagawa Kunitora’s Otome Sugata, ca. 1826 (tumblr.com)

 Shinichi Kaneko  Cats inspired by Eisen

Fig. 8. Cats inspired by Eisen (Instagram.com)

Hands (Instagram.com); right: Tosei Komoncyo by Kuniyoshi

Fig. 9. Hands (Instagram.com); right: Tosei Komoncyo by Kuniyoshi

 Hands (Instagram.com); right: Tosei Komoncyo by Kuniyoshi by Shinichi Kaneko

Fig. 10. Hands after Kuniyoshi (tumblr.com)

 couple by Shinichi Kaneko

Fig. 11. Couple (tumblr.com)

 shinichi kaneko Yuime-doji

Fig. 12. Yuime-doji (Instagram.com)

  Left: Kaneko, Man and Woman (Instagram.com); right: Malevich, Two peasants in white and red, 1920s

Fig. 13. Left: Kaneko, Man and Woman (Instagram.com); right: Malevich, Two peasants in white and red, 1920s.

Hidden Avant-Garde Potential

Kaneko divides his works into several series, which are The Couples (majorly drawings inspired by shunga), Shunji ("hieroglyphs of sexual loving drawn in the style of Japanese calligraphic paintings"), and Ren Bu ("the figures of men and women among the freely painted colors"). Besides, there are also color silhouettes and sculptures of the limbs inspired by particular shunga prints. The approach of Kaneko may remind our followers of Michiyo Kamei's art. Yet, while Michiyo is inspired by the human anatomy that she projects onto her paintings, Kaneko, with his fascination for the line and stroke, moves towards abstractionism. In his works, he brings to light the hidden avant-garde potential of traditional Japanese art, which allows us to recognize new meanings in the oeuvres of past epochs.

 Shinichi Kaneko Japanese artist

Fig. 14. The Couple (Instagram.com)

 shinichi kaneko the couple

Fig. 15. The Couple (Instagram.com)

In the extended Premium edition of this article more on Kaneko's influences (Paul Klee, Picasso, and Roman mythology), his Ren Bu/Dance of Love series, his curious project Grab At a Cloud, and many additional images.

Click HERE for the sensual homages to shunga by Masako Asaba

Sources: shinichikaneko.com; instagram.com/kanekoshinichi_art/; Interview with artist: a-n-d-now.tokyo/kaneko

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