The recent exhibition by Ayako Rokkaku in the Kunsthal Rotterdam had an expressive title – Colours in My Hand. The young Japanese painter applies paint directly on to the canvas with her fingers. Thus she has painted hundreds of pictures, capturing the attention of the wider and professional public. Her untraditional work does not fit stereotypes. She paints without preliminary underpainting or usual preparatory studies and compositional or conceptual plans. Fascinated by the actual painting process, she often paints performance paintings in front of the audience. “Painting always transforms and thus everyone can follow this process. It is wonderful to participate in the creative process together with the others... .” She often paints large canvases – “live paintings” – with the children who participate in the performance.
Ayako’s artistic vision focuses on a small range of motifs: the figures of small girls with big, widely open eyes and long arms soar in colourful “gardens”, amidst houses, boats and other magical though common objects. All seems to be viewed through the eyes of a child and rendered in an “unrefined” style and bright colours. Rokkaku’s method resembles popular Japanese animated films and series. Her paintings abound in stories, excitement and joy, suspense and anxiety. Her work fascinated the renowned Japanese artist and leading Pop Art protagonist, Takashi Murakami who invited her to cooperate in the VOLTA 02 project in Basel, as well as the well-known French art collector and patron, François Pinault. Recently she worked with Kentaro Kawaguchi (54-71 Group) on the film project About Us, launched at the international festival of contemporary art SCOPE BASEL.
The Japanese painter Ayako Rokkaku was born in 1982 in the Tokyo prefecture of Chiba. She lives and works in Tokyo, Berlin and Amsterdam. Rokkaku began to paint in 2002 as a self-taught painter. In 2006 she presented her work at the art fair GESAI 4 and won the SCOUT PRIZE. Since then she has been exhibiting in Europe. The meeting with Takashi Murakami who involved her in animated projects was of great importance for her. She cooperated with the frontman of the world renowned group 54-71 Kenharo Kawagu on the project About Us, and won the prestigious Akio Goto Prize at GESAI 9.