We invite you to engage with the work of our resident artists by visiting The Fragile Power of Drawing - a virtual residency exhibition, presented as part of the 2020/21 Drawing Research Program.
Join Akira as he shares his research from his studios in Peru, while virtually transporting us to the Paris studio-museums through this Q&A series with curator Rahma Khazam.
Why did you choose to respond to the work of Antoine Bourdelle?
I found a better connection between my drawings and Bourdelle's work in the way he modifies the human figure. I love the primitivism of Zadkine, and the elegant volumes of Chana Orloff, but right now I feel more classical. I feel that we need "beauty" and "aletheia" more than ever. Aletheia as Esther Díaz's interpretation, in which one compenetrates with the artwork at the point that we forget ourselves overshadowing our problems as art discloses itself.
The Titans Series: Urano, Hyperion, Cronos - Akira Chinen, 2021
How do you see the relation between your work and classical sculpture in general? Are you revisiting or updating its themes, and if so, in what way?
I studied at the school of fine arts of Perú, there we have excellent copies of many classical sculptures, although at that time I was more interested in exploring new mediums. I started my career as a "superflatish" artist but then I discovered zen and shinto, and suddenly I found myself drawing more spiritual things. In 2017 I visited Paris and looking at classical art, impressionism and post impressionism paintings sealed my interest in the spiritual sense those artworks gave me. This is how I feel right now and maybe I'll change my mind in a couple of years.
I'm taking some of the same themes and visual references from Bourdelle, and of course I also looked after some storytelling between the pieces to talk about the circularity of life. As we know, Uranus trapped his sons but later got overthrown by one of them, Cronus, who also got overthrown by Zeus. And finally we have Hyperion as a depiction of someone who can only watch the reality and is in the middle, a witness who cannot act, maybe overwhelmed by the excess of information. He has no arms, and has his eyes shut. This is how I feel right now between the politics in Perú in the middle of a global pandemic.
What is special about drawing for you?
I think it is more direct and sincere. I look at drawing as an acoustic concert, or an acapella chorus. It is the most intimate approach with the artist and one of the oldest forms of human expression. I'm amazed what I can discover by repeating something as humble as lines on a flat surface.
About Akira Chinen
Visit the exhibition online for more video and text conversations with the participating artists.
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Residency participants are invited to submit their updates and share reflections on projects related to the residency experience. The news and resources shared on this community platform are meant to further the engagement among all residents, stimulate active thinking, and create pathways for knowledge transfer and cross-cultural exchange.
Cover Image: Artists-in Residence, Multidisciplinary Program, January 2020