Futo Akiyoshi. All for One

20 Jan 2018 – 24 Feb 2018

Regular hours

13:00 – 18:00
13:00 – 18:00
13:00 – 18:00
13:00 – 18:00

Sexauer Gallery

Berlin, Germany


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The Japanese painter Futo Akiyoshi paints large, open series of pictures in which he sets for himself strict rules that he then follows with dedication.


These rules are not an end in themselves, but lead to a stronger focus, both for Futo Akiyoshi and the viewer.

In his latest series "something too much", Futo Akiyoshi paints on canvases measuring 105 x 80 cm each with only one unmixed oil paint, but using as many different painting tools as possible.

At first glance, this seems to be a reversal of his previous minimalist approach. For example, Akiyoshi has been painting empty rooms with gold paint for 15 years, in which the spatial effect is only due to slightest differences in colour and the number of layers of paint. In "something too much", Akiyoshi does not start with a limitation, but with too much. Akiyoshi uses over twenty different types of professional painting tools for every picture. The works are abstract, but the painting tools make of themselves a theme through their juxtaposition.

If you ask Futo Akiyoshi about his role models, he mentions Auguste Rodin. Rodin’s handling of the material impresses him. Futo Akiyoshi is interested especially in the haptic and the texture of painting. The fact that the painting tools do not serve to depict something figurative, but only to apply paint, the various textures created by the use of brush, spatula, spray gun, painting knife, adhesive tape, screen, sponge, roller and the like are emphasized. By emphasizing the textures, the painting tools become the theme of the painting itself. The interesting thing about this is that only the connoisseur, the curator or the colleague recognize the production method immediately. Thus the pictures have something narrative, not for the layman, but only for those familiar with painting tools. One could almost speak of an ironic secret message. The layman will not notice the use of the tools at first, because Akiyoshi manages to give the pictures a great harmony despite the interaction of disparate elements. 

The question that such a game has to ask itself is: What is the point? Pure l´art pour l´art? The question cannot be answered one-dimensionally. The program of Futo Akiyoshi is a game (no game exists without rules), an experimental arrangement and an experiment of plurality at the same time. The painting itself is the theme. But it's more than that. It is also an act of liberation, because art – especially Asian art – basically prioritizes an economy of means. In this case Akiyoshi has rebelled, at least at first glance. He uses as many different painting tools as possible. But the rebellion is only apparent. In fact, Akiyoshi is working economically. Akiyoshi would argue that if he used even only one tool less, the image would look different and would lose its beauty. 

Futo Akiyoshi says that he sets himself strict rules in his art. However, the execution of this self imposed program gives him the greatest pleasure. This enthusiasm can be seen in the works. Thus, in the art of Futo Akiyoshi, the conceptual is combined with passionate devotion and play.

What to expect? Toggle

Exhibiting artists

Futo Akiyoshi


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