HIDEO TANAKA: Iki na Hikari (A Breath of Life)

HIDEO TANAKA: Iki na Hikari (A Breath of Life)

Text by Marz Aglipay

A Surreal Deconstruction of Normalcy

Japanese hyperrealist Hideo Tanaka invites viewers to question their perceptions of normalcy in his first solo exhibition at Galerie Stephanie, Iki na Hikari (A Breath of Life). Through exquisitely crafted figures set in quiet surrealist landscapes, Tanaka challenges the status quo, prompting us to embrace the unexpected and the fallible.

Time as an Agent of Change

Tanaka masterfully employs time as a tool for deconstruction. In "14 minutes 24 seconds," two seemingly identical drinking glasses stand side-by-side. One glistens with fresh ice cubes, while the other holds stagnant water, its ice long melted. This subtle contrast exposes the transient nature of "normal" hinting at how fleeting moments can irrevocably alter our perspective.

The exhibition further explores this theme through a series of still lifes featuring perishable goods like fruits. As these once vibrant objects succumb to the elements, their decay is rendered in such exquisite detail that it becomes strangely captivating. We witness the inevitable passage of time not as a source of loss, but as a testament to the inherent beauty of transience.

Figures in Flux

Tanaka's hyperrealism shines in his depictions of human figures navigating unusual situations. Works like "Autumn" and "Rest 'Winter" capture individuals suspended in moments of contemplation, their expressions hinting at the subtle shifts in our internal landscapes as seasons change. These introspective portraits not only showcase the artist's technical mastery but also invite us to consider our own evolving states of being.

Surreal Landscapes, Unambiguous Character

By placing his subjects amidst dreamlike, sometimes humorous, abstract landscapes, Tanaka avoids assigning moral judgment. Instead, the emphasis lies on revealing the unique character and inherent authenticity of each individual, regardless of their circumstances. His work "I am me" throws a playful curveball at the viewer, presenting two self-portraits facing opposite directions. With no clear indication of which path is "forward" he creates a sense of ambiguity that draws us into his personal exploration.

This playful uncertainty invites us to question our understanding of identity and truth, challenging us to define "forward" within our perspective. Tanaka's meticulous attention to detail and seemingly mundane subject matter invite a closer look. His quiet aesthetics offer a subtle critique of how we readily accept the imperfections and absurdities of everyday life. The works in A Breath of Life encourage us to find humor and beauty in the unexpected, gently nudging us to question our preconceived notions about what constitutes "normal."

Deconstructing normalcy, as Tanaka's work demonstrates, is not about establishing a new set of rigid rules. It's about cultivating critical thinking, open-mindedness, and a willingness to embrace the multifaceted nature of the world. By engaging with diverse perspectives and experiences, we can challenge the status quo and ultimately deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

Iki na Hikari (A Breath of Life) is a masterclass in hyperrealism that transcends technical virtuosity.

Tanaka invites us to re-examine our assumptions about what constitutes "normal." His work is a testament to the beauty and authenticity that lie beneath the surface of everyday life, urging us to

embrace the ever-shifting tapestry of human experience with open eyes and a playful spirit.

Iki na Hikari ran from February 8 until March 3 at Galerie Stephanie, Mandaluyong, Philippines


Popular Posts