In 1991, Toshihiro Hamano held a major exhibition at the Japan Festival in London, an initiative by both the Japanese and British governments to showcase Japanese culture. The festival was a turning point for Hamano, taking the uniqueness of his creativity on a more global path during the later stages of his artistic career.
By absorbing diverse, sometimes contradictory, elements of cultural influences from East Asia, Japanese art has always encompassed within itself inconsistency and accomplishment in seeking to make sense of the fundamental nature of the world. Consequently, there is an uneasy dichotomy between art uncovering and art transcending our understanding of the universe. This contradiction inherent in art has been filtered through the lens of Zen philosophy.
The Zen concept of ma (間) has come to the fore in Toshihiro Hamano’s practice. Literally translated as 'interval', ma is a void which aids the viewer to comprehend the whole, accentuating the formal arrangement of the other elements. Hamano believes that now, the only way to develop new artistic expression is by fulfilling the untouched canvas with ma, which can be naturally attained by mastering the two-dimensionality of painting. Hamano has made the concept of ma his own, embracing the dualism of East and West; the traditional and the contemporary; the concrete and the abstract. He continues to express Eastern philosophy of versatility, selflessness and the world view of tendresse through his art works.
After participating in the 1991 Japan Festival in the UK, Hamano exhibited widely throughout Europe. He was granted an audience with the Pope in 2000 and was awarded the L’Order des Lettres in France in 2015, followed by the Foreign Minister’s Commendations in Japan in 2016. The late Sir Peter Parker, Chairman of the Japan Festival’s UK Committee, collected Hamano’s works over their years of friendship since 1991. On his death, the Sir Peter Parker Collection, containing more than one hundred of Hamano’s works, was bequeathed to Sir Alan Parker, Chairman of Brunswick Group, LLP. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Japan Festival, this exhibition, dedicated to the late Sir Peter and Lady Jill Parker and held in association with Brunswick Group LLP, will premiere Hamano’s latest artworks in London.