Born in Tokyo, Japan, 1964
Lives and works in Cologne and Düsseldorf, Germany and Tokyo, Japan.

Sometimes good pictures can be something like small escape paths. As sometimes they offer you the opportunity to flee for a brief while to a different place to disappear into a different time. Hideaki Yamanobe’s paintings definitely come close to functioning in this way.

Yet initially they seem to be little more than various gray tones on differently sized canvases. You will, however, swiftly find yourself seeing mysterious misty landscapes in them and attempting to discover hints of forests or settlements behind the opaque clouds. Although you will not be successful, as figurativeness is not something to which Yamanobe aspires. Born in Tokyo in 1964 and now resident in Cologne, in his work he brings together traditions of Western painting such as Abstract Expressionism and influential movements in his Asian culture.

The results are contemplative and highly exciting abstract pieces with unobtrusive color tones. To this end, applying the paint in different ways Yamanobe places several gradually brighter layers of paint on a black grounding, finishing this off with a bright gray that verges on white.

Contemporary music forms a key source of inspiration for him. He repeatedly attempts to transpose compositions into a visual medium and render them tangible. For example, his series of paintings entitled “Snow noise” was prompted by a stage set which he created for a performance of Helmut Lachenmann’s opera “Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern” in Salzburg.

The medium of painting – in Yamanobe’s case it serves to visualize sensitive and emotional processes and is therefore actually an avenue for distancing the all too familiar for a short while.

Janneke de Vries