Akira Taniguchi

Akira Taniguchi is a Japanese artist and masters student at Tokyo University of the Arts. Akira will be welcoming visitors during The Trail at his pop-up open studio at Spinola Park to see him creating one of his pieces, which are usually paintings, but sometimes installations.

Akira has been very inspired by a Japanese concept: もののあはれ “Mono-no-aware (the pathos of things)” which is close to the concept of Memento Mori (remembrance of death) in Western culture. Akira regards continuity as the inspiration for his art, encompassing the idea that we humans continue to live, and we cease to live one day, and that existence and death are two sides of the same coin. Taking this idea as his starting point, he creates installations and art using bold colours and patterns which repeat to communicate the idea of “Mono-no-aware”.

“I like news and I like history.” explains Akira. “To understand news in any kind of depth, we need to know about history. Every political problem and every kind of incident has its own background and precedent. I believe we have to judge such matters from many aspects in order to grasp the truth about them. Your ‘justice’ might not be ‘justice’ for everyone. Our inability to solve the tragic situation in the Middle East is a case in point. By studying human history, we easily realise the truth of the maxim, “history repeats itself.” We humans kill, cheat, and love each other again and again. Time passes, and we can never go back to a previous historical time, but there are always many similarities between those times and these times. The river of time and history flows ceaselessly, and while the flow may be the same, the water is not. Things like this continue to flow but they also change at the same time. That is what I think about in the course of creating my art. My works repeat, but the fact that my hand is painting them ensures that no two blocks are ever really the same. The differences may be hard to discern, but they are there nonetheless. The truth is hard to find, but I really need to find it.”

Akira was awarded the Dean’s Award at his degree show at Sydney College of the Arts, Australia and is excited to be part of both this autumn’s Transnational Tokyo exhibition in Valletta linking the art of Japan and the West as well as Allura – The Trail.