Naofuni Maruyama – Paintings (Works)

Selected Works

Naofuni Maruyama

June 8 - July 26, 2002

Naofuni Maruyama – Paintings Press Release

“Every now and then we see the crack of a  dream in an everyday scene. It may be a hope or a memory of the past. Because of it we can go on living and – frequently – making mistakes.”

Naofumi Maruyama – Tokyo, 1998

Thomas Erben is very pleased to present the first exhibition of the Japanese painter, Naofumi Maruyama (b. 1964) in the U.S. Since his inclusion in Modest Radicalism in 1999 at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOT), Tokyo, Maruyama has been considered one of the significant young painters in Japan.

On view will be a series of paintings with children as subject matter. Maruyama paints his figures directly onto the unprimed canvas in the tradition of Japanese ink painting and surrounds them with luminous monochrome expanses. He develops his subject matter in a reductive fashion, sometimes overpainting existing imagery. The material presence of the built up backgrounds plays paradoxically against the figurative “foregrounds” which appear almost cut out. Recently, he has added flat, graphic outlines describing figures or objects as a third element to his vocabulary.

Maruyama has worked over extended periods in Germany. Influences of Romanticism, his own interests in fairy tales and legends and his dreamy, mysterious figurative style are offset by formal elements of pop art and comics. In this body of work, he captures an alternative sensibility, closer to dream states, using the imagery of children as a metaphor for innocence and unity with the self.

Since the early ’90s Maruyama’s work has been shown in major exhibitions such as October Art Festival Art Tower, Ibaraki, Japan 1990, A Perspective on Contemporary Art The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo 1993, Creativity in Asian Art Now Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima 1994, Continental Shift Forum Ludwig, Aachen, Germany 2000, World Vision Museum of Contemporary Art (MOT), Tokyo 2001.

His paintings are included in the following collections (selection): Kawaguchi Contemporary Art Museum, Saitama; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka; The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tochigi; The Japan Foundation, Tokyo; and Iwaki Museum of Contemporary Art, Ibaragi.

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