Shadows and Light, by Kiyoshi Nakagami

The Japanese painter uses a unique technique to create apocalyptic pieces in which light and darkness appear in opposition.


WordsLou Tsatsas

© Kiyoshi Nakagami

When looking at a painting by Kiyoshi Nakagami, the boundaries between reality and fiction are erased; the dark, imposing shadow is frightening, while the saving light offers a degree of hope. There is a certain dichotomy in his pieces, an opposition between light and dark that is evocative of a fantastic battle between two divine entities.

Born in Shizuoka in 1949, the painter developed his unique aesthetic over a number of years. In 2000, he first established the technique he continues to use today. Convinced that nature cannot be tamed by humans, he produces his detailed pieces without using a paintbrush, and allows time and bad weather to influence his work, deepening the dark areas and clouding the bright ones.


An unforgettable experience

This well-thought-out process gives rise to apocalyptic landscapes marked by striking contrasts. ‘My starting point when I draw is to offer the public an unforgettable experience, one that words cannot explain’, the artist declares. Having always been fascinated by light, which he considers as the basis of all art forms, Kiyoshi Nakagami pays homage to it, as have many authors. ‘In the Old Testament, we read “And there was light”. In his biography, Carl Jung mentioned gorillas gathering together to watch the sun rise. Some tribes venerate this star as if it were a god…’, he explains.

His spectacular chiaroscuro carries the viewer away into wild, powerful nature. The clouds, which veil the sun’s rays and plunge the world into a menacing darkness, seem to make time stand still, just before the storm rumbles and droplets fall and disappear on the ground. The painter’s creations do not illustrate reality: they are works of fiction. They capture a Manichean battle between darkness and light, the unknown and the familiar. They breathe an epic new life into this ordinary landscape and encourage the viewer to never look at the horizon in the same way again.


Kiyoshi Nakagami’s paintings can be found on the Galerie Richard’s website.

© Kiyoshi Nakagami

© Kiyoshi Nakagami

© Kiyoshi Nakagami