Yosuke Kobashi is a Japanese Contemporary Artist, born in 1980. His work has been featured in several exhibitions at key galleries and museums, including Gallery MoMo Ryogoku, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Pulse Miami Beach, and Volta NY.
From: Nostalgia and Fantasy : Imagination and Its Origins in Contemporary Art, Catalogue, The National Museum of Art, Masahiro Yasuki／2014
"A naked man bounds across the middle of a painting covered with a riot of color. The picture exudes a floating sensation recalling a state of weightlessness in which sky and earth, people and nature are united. Although we've never seen it before, the wondrous painting simultaneously conveys a feeling of nostalgia, novelty, and approachability. What creates this sens of deja vu? Is it the imagery, the use of color, the texture of the paint, or the painting technique?
Kobashi Yosuke's are not designed to be unusual. The artist does not paint these pictures with that thought in mind. This is clear from the fact that he has long devoted himself to making self-portraits. Painting a self-portrait is an extremely introspective act. Though creation generally calls for giving shape to something outside, self-portraiture alone is based on single-minded self-reference. Like a mouse running endlessly on a wheel, a self-portrait is the product of an autistic act that prevents any external view from intervening.
How can Kobashi yield so completely to painting? In a way, this is a mark of his absolute trust in the medium. For Kobashi, the canvas is an unconditional entity, and confronting it is a perfectly ordinary practice like looking into a mirror. We can sense how partial Kobashi is to the rectangular support medium as well as the supreme satisfaction he derives from completely covering the rectangle with paint.
It is perhaps Kobashi's primitive creative urges that trigger our sense of nostalgia in regard to his paintings. Whether nostalgic or not, contemporary painting is subject to doctrinal art criticism, which can sometimes draw an artist in and influence how he or she paints. There is no sign of such a calculated approach here. Kobashi paints what he wants to paint, single-mindedly repeating himself, and showing his work as he wishes.
In recent years, Kobashi has frequently arranged his paintings in an installation format as a means of urging viewers to lose themselves in the display space. The pictures are not lined up in a well-ordered way on the walls but are instead floating in space, tilted against the walls, slanted, and placed in a corner of the room in an inconspicuous way. At first, this might seem to be a way of diluting the presence of the individual pictures. But as our focus shifts, this actually makes the works stronger and more effective in relation to the spaces around each of them and the links between them. We can also sense the artist's deep fondness for his works. In as much as Kobashi has developed this approach on a previously unseen scale in this exhibition, he provides us with a perfect opportunity to understand his entire spatial concept.
If you said that Kobashi loves paint, brushes, and the support medium, it might sound as if he has an overly sentimental approach to artistic creation. The artist actually lacks both this type of feeling and awareness. This is clear from the fact that at times he simply stops making self-portraits, devotes himself to nothing but making dog pictures, or seems to switch themes and styles without the slightest hesitation. We can see this change of heart – a sign of in nocence – as the essential nature of an artist brimming with curiosity."