The Review at the solo exhibition in Tokyo Wonder Site 2015-16

Text: Atsuo YASUDA (Deputy director and Curator, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art/ Japan)

The exhibition contains two paintings of a scale as large as works shown at art

museums. Richly colored and highly symbolical/metaphorical, the y seem to be

depicting landscapes of tropical rainforests, while at the same time, the layered

pictorial space they create has perhaps more of a stage set tha n of a landscape.

Displayed next to them in a contrasting fashion are several sma ll pictures (often

painted onto coarse jute fabric), and a number of homespun (as I would venture to

call them) small ceramic and wood-carved items. Kenichiro Fukumoto mentions

“scenery” as a keyword for this exhibition, and in the “scenery” these variously sized works create as they fill the not exactly large available space, one somehow feels strangely at home. That’ s probably because the artist is approaching his creative work from the basics of “shaping.” Departing from painting, he steps out of his domain and into the realm of ceramic art in order to examine hi s relationship to others ‒ or the individual’ s relationship to the world ‒ through the direct contact

with paints and materials that literally function as “media” he re. Today, in the 21st

century, people can paint any kind of painting, and make any kind of sculpture, and that’ s exactly why defining one’ s own distinctive “shape” is so difficult. Kenichiro Fukumoto explains that in this sense his experience in Southeast Asia, studying in Singapore four years ago, was elemental. He doesn’t just simply choose tropical motifs and colors though, and these new paintings even seem to be referring to “shapes” of a rather Japanese nature. I suppose he is trying to pinpoint his own “form” and “image” among the various “shapes” found in the realms of fine art, industrial art, folk craft and decorative art. As a matter of f act, the small items here include such “functional shapes” as vases. I’ m quite curious to see what kinds of “sceneries” the artist is going to create next.