STUDIO-PARIS                                    STUDIO-KYOTO


Studio-lakeside.LEMAN 1979-1986             Studio-suburb of paris 1986-1993                   Studio-Auvers sur oise  1993-2011

RIKIZO FUKAO        Born in 1946 in Gunma prefecture (Japan), he grows up in Tokyo. He starts painting at 24 and moves to Paris in 1971, then settles in Geneva (Switzerland). In the early years of his stay in Europe, he works at the ILO as Chief programmer. Concurrently, he is allocated a working space in Paris by the French Ministry of Culture and builds his own studio on the French banks of Lake Leman (1979). In 1981, he resigns from the ILO, to dedicate himself to painting exclusively. In 1993, he takes up residence in Auvers-sur-Oise. After actively pursuing his art in Europe for over 25 years, he has his first exhibition in Japan in 1999.  In 2012, he opens a new working space, in Paris and Kyoto.


1975       Annecy Museum Annecy France

               Dédale Gallery Geneva Switzerland

               Henri Meyer Gallery Lausanne Switzerland

               Kohok Gallery Saint-Etienne France

               Voltaire Gallery Ferney-Voltaire France

1976       W Gallery Annemasse France

               32 Gallery Lyon France

1977       CAC Gallery Nernier France

1979       Aujourd’hui Gallery  Geneva Switzerland

1982       32 Gallery Lyon France

1983       Hall de L’île organized by Geneva Switzerland

1984       Petersen Gallery Thonon France

1986       FIAC, Grand Palais Paris, with Sculptor Lovato

               Numaga Gallery Auvernier Switzerland

               Petersen Gallery Thonon France

1987       Birch Gallery Copenhagen Denmark

1988       Petersen Gallery Thonon les Bains

               Bernard Letu Gallery Geneva Switzerland, with Kenji Yoshida

1989       C Gallery Arhus Denmark

               Sorco Gallery Nuremberg Germany

               J de V Gallery Malmö Sweden

               FIAC, Grand Palais Paris,    with Sculptor Robert Jacobsen

1990       J de V Gallery Göteborg Sweden

               Boulv’Art Gallery Geneva Switzerland

1991       Ynguanzo Gallery Madrid Spain

               Espace Swiss Air Geneva Switzerland

1992       SCAG Gallery Copenhagen Denmark

               Petersen Gallery Thonon

1998       Dialogue Gallery Paris France

1999       ABC Gallery Osaka Japon

               Agapé-Art Gallery Kobe Japon

2000       Simoncini Gallery Luxembourg

2001       Taménaga Gallery Osaka Japon

               Miyabi Gallery Nagoya Japon

2002       Taménaga Gallery Paris France

               Tamenaga Gallery Osaka Japon

               Château d’Auvers      Music Festival Auvers-sur-Oise France            

               Le Trait d’Union Neufchâteau France

2004       Tamenaga Gallery Tokyo Japon

               Kajima-KI bldg.  Tokyo

2005       Tamenaga Gallery Osaka Japon

               Tenmaya Okayama Japon

               Tenmaya Hiroshima Japon

               Tenmaya Takamatsu Japon

2006       Tenmaya Fukuyama Japon

2007       Simoncini Gallery Luxembourg

               Tamenaga Gallery Paris France

               Château Royal de Blois  Blois France

2008       Nielsen Gallery Kolding Danemark

2009       Kodaiji Temple Kyoto,Japon

               Sanjyo-Gion Gallery  Kyoto

2010       Simoncini Gallery Luxembourg with Sculptor Osamu Nakajima

               Mitsukoshi Sendai Japan

2011       Jouan-Gondouin Gallery St Germain en Laye France

               Minou Gallery Osaka Japon

2012       Palais Benedictine Fecamp France

2014       Simoncini Gallery Luxembourg

2016       Elena Shchukina Gallery  London


Lawrence Smith, Keeper Emeritus of Japanese Antiquities, British Museum, London.

There are three reasons why I rejoice that the Kodaiji is displaying paintings by Fukao Rikizo in its famous and historic interiors. One is that he is an important artist whom I have long admired. Another is that I believe his works are very well suited to the traditional Buddhist context in which they will be shown. The third is that this exhibition will mark a meeting of Japanese and international cultural strengths in a unique and important historical moment.

It is now some years that I have followed and written about the artistic career of Rikizo, and from the beginning I always admired the physical balance in his paintings, a balance which seemed to get more assured as the physical scale of the works increased. By the term balance I mean that sense of an inevitable relationship which seems to exist in each work between the shapes which appear on it. Of course in one sense that happens in every successful work of art, but in a more Japanese sense I believe that Rikizos balance is closely related to that of the calligraphy of East Asia. In fact, one of the first things I noticed about his work was how closely the persistent elongated shapes, often in black, reminded me subtly of the strokes of kanji, often abruptly changing direction as so often happens in kaisho. Indeed, his large panels often give the impression of being an exploration of a written character perceived as if in a dream. This is one element that makes his work fit so harmoniously into the intensely Japanese environment of Kodaiji.

It might be objected that the essence of sho is black on white, whereas Rikizos paintings have mostly been black on red, or black on blue or green, or more recently red on red. But this would be to miss a wider context, for these are all tensions between opposites, dark and light, existence and void – the preoccupations of all major religions and philosophies. Rikizos works explore these profundities, as do all serious artists in their various ways. It is no surprise to me that they have been considered suitable for a great Buddhist temple. And further, visitors to the exhibition will notice that none of his red or black surfaces are flat. Like the gold-leaf backgrounds of traditional fusuma-e and byobu, they are complex and varied in texture, picking up different aspects of the changing light as the day progresses. This is a visualisation of that transience which is at the heart of Buddhist thought, and which finds a specially Japanese expression in the word aware. Furthermore, it will be noticed that all Rikizos works are both still and in movement. They always lead the eye outside the physical constraints of a three-dimensional canvas into wondering what happened before, and what will happen next. Indeed, some of them stray outside the borders of the canvas, as if challenging its own physical reality. This partakes of both transience and the immediacy of what we experience, and this too is at the heart of all serious art.

So far I have spoken of the art of one particular artist. But in this exhibition there is something very specific which has not happened before, and as a historian of art I believe to be most significant. It is not the fact that purely abstract paintings have been chosen for a Buddhist temple, for this has happened before, though not frequently. It is rather the fact that, extraordinary though it may seem after 150 years of the vigorous and distinguished pursuit of western-style oil-painting by Japanese artists, this will be the first time that paintings in these techniques on canvas have been used in a traditional religious building such as Kodaiji. Up to now, only paper or silk have been used. For this exhibition, Rikizo has laboured to make works which can be adapted as fusuma-e, kakejiku, and even small byobu-e. This has required imagination and ingenuity not only from him, but also from the hyogu-shi, and of course from the temple authorities themselves.

This is a historic meeting of two great artistic traditions. It is a bold decision, but it will be beautiful and memorable, and I predict it will be remembered not only as a imaginative and courageous experiment, but rather as the beginning of a rich new school of Japanese art.