Press Release


KIYOSHI NAKAGAMI     Prolonging Pleasure       March 17 - April 23, 2011

« As a painter, there is nothing more difficult for me to represent than light. The ones who can do that are the greatest painters, greatest artists ». Kiyoshi Nakagami



The Gallery Jean-Luc & Takako Richard is pleased to present the Japanese artist Kiyoshi Nakagami, from March 17 to April 23, 2011.


A Nihango Artist

The Japanese artist born in Kanagawa in 1949 was presented in a group exhibition titled « Nihonga Painting, Six Provocative Artists » in Yokohama Museum of Art in 2006. « Nihonga Painting » indicates Japanese painting (Nihon meaning ‘Japan’) in opposition to Western painting. While Takashi Murakami confides in not being considered a Nihonga artist in Japan, Kiyoshi Nakagami achieved this recognition by the authenticity of his art and the fact that his art is rooted in the culture of his country. For his exhibition in Yokohama Museum of Art, Kiyoshi Nakagami has chosen to include a silk painting by Taikan Yokoyama, a piece from 1912 that belongs to the permanent collection of the museum. Kiyoshi Nakagami lives solely in Japan and does not travel abroad often. He is a solitary painter that arouses respect.

An innovative and a secret technique

Nakagami developed a technique that only he mastered. The mental preparation before the creation of the work is a major step in his creative process. This ability to so magnificently reproduce in painting the effects of diffusion of light has no other equivalent. These excellently mastered paintings are created without brush. «Kiyoshi does not like to convey the body movements of the painter on canvas and transmit the fierce passion or the crudeness at all — for example that of the expressionists…Instead, he constantly strives to observe his painting like a « new born »; in a way, he thinks and facilitates its birth ». Nakagami does not imitate the nature; he reproduces natural phenomena identical to those of nature on canvas. He does not reproduce clouds, he creates them concretely.


The light at the center of the painting

His paintings are opposite of the concept of « superflat » painting. There is nothing more three-dimensional than a painting that represents light, the only subject of his work. This golden light appears in the form of a beam or a diluted from of vibrational lines that spread on the dark surface of the painting.

Kiyoshi Nakagami’s painting absorbs the gaze into a meditative space. The contemplation of the viewer is facilitated by the absence of all the material on the canvas that is likely to frontally stop the gaze. The gaze enters into a space of an infinite field of depth. This effect is equally strong in a small-scale painting as in a large diptych. At first sight most people may think the artist deals with the theme of Genesis, yet he gives the viewer the freedom of interpretation. His statement as a painter resides in his ability to reproduce the light and its phenomena. To represent light is the most difficult task for him. It is one of the subjects that the greatest artists face.


« We see a fine but bright line. Where does it come from that ray of light? From the sky? Or from a hidden interior source? The light shines, but its origin is ambiguous ». Toshio Yamanashi



 An international reputation


Nakagami’s works are in the National Museum of Modern Art of Tokyo and he had a solo exhibition in Kanagawa Museum of Art in 2008. He is represented by the Hino Gallery in Tokyo since 1989 and by Galerie Jean-Luc & Takako Richard since 2003.


Kiyoshi Nakagami was exhibited in Galerie Jean-Luc + Takako Richard simultaneously with the French artist Hervé Heuzé, another painter of Light, from January 8 to February 26, 2011.