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Naotaka Hiro

Untitled (Landing), 2023

acrylic, graphite, grease pencil, and crayon on wood
147.3 x 106.7 x 5.1cm
About Naotaka Hiro
Through placing physical demands on his own body, Naotaka Hiro explores the limits of the human psyche and physicality. With influences ranging from the overlooked Gutai group – a performance collective formed in Osaka in 1954 by Yoshihara Jiro – to the Californian performance art scene. Although much of Hiro’s practice is intuitive, involving instinctive gestures, he also practises meticulous mark-making techniques, relating the seemingly paradoxical methods of improvisation and studied movement to that of the actor and director, the subconscious and consciousness, the dream state and being awake. This push and pull are central to Hiro’s practice, and he fluctuates between the opposing states until their borders are unclear. To produce his paintings, Hiro conducts ‘sessions’, sometimes suspending his canvas from the ceiling and physically manipulating its texture by inserting his legs into holes bored within its surface, transforming the canvas with dye and paint. In creating sculptures, the artist contorts his body into an awkward position before covering it in silicon and attempting to stay still while it dries. After completing a session, the artist re-examines each work, coming to it afresh and released from the initial maelstrom of creativity, editing and reforming with a more consciously considered approach.