…they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave…
[Socrates in dialogue with Glaucon]
– Plato, The Republic 380 BCE
The first London solo exhibition of the artist Toshiaki Hicosaka invites us to reflect on the world through fire: the driver of evolution, life, comfort and violence. From ocean to fire, his immersive installations of painting have embraced elements of the everyday. He perceives them as a medium that unravels our changing perception on the lived temporalities of the past and present.
Fire has mesmerised scientists, artists, and philosophers who sought to understand our relationship to the world. In France, 1826, the glaring sunlight was the catalyst for the inventor Nicéphore Niépce’s creation of photography, driven by his desire to draw without using his own hands. In Japan, 1872, people were impressed by the brightness of imported British gas lamps, exclaiming “This is civilization..!” Nowadays, digital imagery of fire adorns the fireplaces of households, supplementing the warmth felt in our imagination. These instances show how our understanding of this universal natural phenomenon has shifted with our comprehension of the phisycal world throughout the human history.
Here, fire reveals itself to viewers as a medium of perceptual relations. Through this new body of work by the artist, viewers are invited to reflect on the social and cultural environment that they live within.
The exhibition is curated by Eiko Honda.
With thanks to the Zabludowicz Collection for the equipment support.
About the contributors
Toshiaki Hicosaka (b. Aichi Prefecture, Japan, 1983) is a painter based in Kyoto.
Hicosaka has had solo exhibitions at Aishonanzuka (2016, Hong Kong); Aisho Miura Arts (2013, Tokyo); Ohara Museum of Art (2011; Okayama, Japan); and Shiseido Gallery (2008, Tokyo). Selected group exhibitions include: egØ – Re-examining the Self, punto (2014, Kyoto); New Phases in Contemporary Painting, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art (2012, Hyogo, Japan); TRANS COMPLEX – The painting in the Age of Information Technology, Kyoto Art Center (2011, Kyoto); and MOT annual 2008 Unravelling and Revealing, Museum of Contemporary Art (2008, Tokyo). Hicosaka has received grants from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation (2009) and the Pola Art Foundation (2014). He works as a lecturer at the Kyoto University of Art and Design and also at Kurashiki University of Science and Art, Japan.