All Lives, Including the Artist’s, Follow their Own Path in Satoshi Kojima’s Night-Time World

The artist's canvases depict a nocturnal universe with a party atmosphere and pale tones that play with the viewer's reference points.


WordsHenri Robert

“Death on Credit” (2019) - Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue, NYC

When searching the name Satoshi Kojima on the Internet, the first result pertains to a Japanese wrestler who may already be known to some. There is, however, another Satoshi Kojima who is a painter and, as the great Scottish artist Peter Doig humorously noted on the occasion of an exhibition at the Bridget Donahue Gallery, although the painter is ‘not to be confused with the wrestler of the same name, there is some crossover between them.’

The Japanese artist was born in 1972 and lives in Düsseldorf in Germany. He met Peter Doig while studying at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he became one of his favourite students, and this anecdote has stuck with him ever since.


Nocturnal wanderings

Satoshi Kojima’s large canvases offer a dive into a universe with singular codes, often on or close to dancefloors, their pastel tones combining various influences. Inspired by op art, the artist leads the viewer into a futuristic world, playing with the points of reference in the environment. In the midst of surrealism and burlesque, the eye is uncertain about what message to look for. Paths allow clubbers to escape to a strange land, an alternative playground.

Each canvas presents one or several characters with a passive, celebratory, or sexual attitude and matching or opposing styles. Death on Credit (2019) features two women, one seated and looking down on the other, who is lying down in a bathtub. XO (2019) depicts a female figure lying across coloured bands painted on the ground, which also cover her naked body, making her part of the setting. These blue and white bands appear in almost all of Satoshi Kojima’s works, with a result somewhat reminiscent of the work of Daniel Buren.

The world created by Satoshi Kojima, at once captivating and mellow, disturbing and frightening, presents a range of nocturnal, irrational, and strange activities and the connections that form through them. As Peter Malone remarks in an article for Hyperallergic, the artist’s paintings ‘don’t examine human relationships—they fondle them like a bear fondles picnic food.’


Satoshi Kojima’s work can be viewed on the Bridget Donahue Gallery website.

'XO' (2019) - Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue, NYC

'Alice' (2018) - Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue, NYC

'No Limit' (2019) - Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue, NYC

'Blue Room' (2016) - Courtesy of the artist and Bridget Donahue, NYC