Period / Phaze

Tomoko Yabumae (MOT/ Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo) 

 A figure is presented in a vague space. It is difficult to tell whether the model, shown from the chest up, is Japanese or Western. The features are sometimes made indecipherable by the sharp, decisive brushstrokes. The composition is simple, pared down to minimal elements, and viewers are likely to associate Komura’s work with the names of predecessors in figurative expression in Art History such as Francis Bacon etc. His small landscapes, which have begun to appear in recent years, and drawings are executed in dark tones, and they have the sentimental and lyrical quality of Japanese Western style painting of the modern era.

    These works recall a historical layering of images, but their most essential quality is the extraction of something that cannot be reduced to that, It is something that only exists in the moment, something that never grows old. The vivid impression made on the viewer at first glance is caused by the bodies of the figures enclosed in the picture (in most cases, their eyes are closed, painted over or gaze at the sky in an unfocused way, making them seem introverted or self-absorbed). The figures appear so fragile that they could fall a part any second. There are any thread-like lines of paint extending out from the faces in the paintings shown in this exhibition. Along with giving us a better sense of the physical surface, these lines, which look like disintegrating flesh or blood vessels, help us forces on the present moment in our experience of the pictures.

    On the evening of the great earthquake last March, Komura was impelled to make a huge number of drawings. The images he drew over and over were reminiscent of landscape but they continually dissolved, turning into accumulations of simple lines, and once again returned to their former appearance. Komura uses his brush to visualize instants of the instability or uncertainty of reality, seeming to dive toward it. The practice of painting is a human activity that has been carried on continuously since ancient times and will continue into the future, and Komura’s work carries this practice into the present.