I came across the videos and photos of this wonderful exhibition “Goldfish Salvation” in January when it was still showing in London, yet I still find myself returning to watch it months later because it’s so impressive and inspiring. Painter Riusuke Fukahori just kicks butt, plain and simple.
Even though he only focuses on a single subject matter, goldfish, over and over, his refining of a technique which uses layers of acrylic and resin is a fascinating art-form; and the goldfish never get boring to look at.
This is modern-day art that satisfies on so many levels: it’s innovative, it doesn’t need to be ‘explained’; it’s colorful and amazingly lifelike; it can come in a variety of shapes and sizes and containers; -and even when you get to see him go through the steps from start to completion, it still boggles the mind how the final effect can be so mesmerizing. It’s like watching a magician explain each step of a trick to you and yet you still can’t quite believe your eyes when it happens.
And because of the stunning realism in his pieces, his work has actually caused controversy to uninformed and disbelieving viewers, lol. So much so, that if you look up the various videos of his work that are around the web, there are always some people in the various comments sections outraged that he must’ve killed hundreds of innocent goldfish just to make his work. Now that’s a true conjurer!
The first video below is from Riusuke Fukahori’s London debut exhibition “Goldfish Salvation” which transformed the ICN gallery into a world of goldfish. It shows him creating the various pieces used in the show. From the liner notes: “When struggling with artistic vision, Fukahori’s pet goldfish became his inspiration and ever since his passion and lifelong theme. His unique style of painting uses acrylic on clear resin which is poured into containers, resulting in a three-dimensional appearance and lifelike vitality.” The pic in the header is a detail from the photographer who captured the exhibit, Dominic Alves. Underneath the video below is his wonderful flickrstream accounting of the show, which also included large brush swath versions of the goldfish theme on paper and glass.
Unfortunately, the version I normally watch has been banned in my country by EMI due to the soundtrack, and the musical accompaniment to the other versions I’ve found don’t seem to fit the mood of the video and aren’t as fun to listen to. So just turn the sound down a bit (or off) and enjoy the hell out of Riusuke Fukahori’s ingenuity, passion and skill. -Truly an inspiring visual artist.
***Sept. 30, 2012 UPDATE: In the last 48 hours, almost all videos of Fukahori’s work have been pulled/darkened across Youtube, Vimeo, etc. This is a startling development and we’ll be scouring the web for a replacement video or two to put up on the page. This link here should take you to the new Flickrstream addy of the event’s photographer. Apologies for any inconvenience. I’ve found over two dozen deadlink vids now, many with different background songs so they must be pulling access to the vids for reasons other than musical copyrights. You can also visit the artist’s site here, although the page is in Japanese.