Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Bite 36: Ryuzo Nishida - Self-Portrait, 2004

Self-Portrait, 2004, nails and paint on board, 100 x 100 cm
Each 'pixel' here making up the face is a gray or black nail driven into board. Yet despite the apparent drawbacks of Nishida's chosen mixed-media method, this self-portrait none-the-less remains remarkably commanding and highly expressive. 

In fact the use of nails seems somewhat appropriate to this mans expression - his eyes silently scream just as his wide mouth does - while the 'calming' pale blue background off-sets this tension. 

A Japanese-New Zealander who often confronts imperialist social issues in his work, Nishida may well be in consternation against racial assumptions or invisibility. Or perhaps he is angry at a constant misunderstanding of his creative endeavors, at always being put into particular conceptual boxes. 

He succeeds, however, is remaining gloriously ambiguous, staring us straight in the face, confronting us with a highly personal identity crisis. 

Currently on view at the Pah Homestead, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre, Auckland.