Gallery Ascend presents: Noritoshi Mitsuuchi’s “Cutism”


Exhibition Dates: Nov 5 – 20, 2021

Venue: Gallery Ascend, 8/F, the Arca, 43 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang

Gallery Ascend has been devoted to searching for emerging artists all around the globe, we are honored to bring forth works created by Japanese painter, Noritoshi Mitsuuchi, to his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong. Noritoshi Mitsuuchi was born in Osaka, Japan, 1978. He’s been active since 2002 and his work has gained popularity from a number of exhibitions that have been held in Japan and overseas. He is fond of incorporating child-like bold brush strokes and vibrant colours into his artwork. Like Picasso, he casts away the complicated thoughts and techniques that an adult would have, and instead readapted the simplicity of a child’s view point of seeing the world to let his emotions flow freely onto his canvas, stating, “The more you try to perfect your art, things that matter will disappear increasingly.”

Noritoshi is a master of using incredibly imaginative ways to transform real life scenarios into the extraordinary. For example, in one of his paintings, it’s seen that there are two angels toiling away, transporting a rainbow despite the rain. This presents that there are two angels among us every time we see a rainbow after the rain. A childish thought it may seem, yet one that brings joy to those that this painting touches; an idea that we all had when we were young but lost along the path to adulthood. He once stated, “I create art that stimulates the viewer’s memory and imagination by focusing on beauty that may be subtle, yet surely exists in the vast history of art.” Perhaps one can only discover the hidden beauties of life’s aura through the lenses of a child’s pure curiosity.

Noritoshi’s inspiration originates from Japanese manga, Western cartoon, and even Japanese traditional paintings of animals and scenery, reflecting how contemporary artists are influenced by cultures all around through globalization nowadays. From the thunder god and wind god of ancient Japanese beliefs, to the traditional Western story of Saint George slaying a dragon, all have become scenes out of a playful kid’s drama under Noritoshi’s brush. The ferocious dragon transforms into an Oriental characterized dragon with a sleek snake frame; the typical exchange between the vices of a dragon and the bravery of a knight that have been passed down as old as time suddenly turn into one of a game being played by children, fumes of fire and the sharp sword are no longer deadly weapons, but tools in a harmless game. In Japanese culture, the thunder god is often presented in a savage-like manner by adults, here, Noritoshi gives the thunder god a whole new makeover by giving him a doll-like adorable image, with short, cartoonish limbs, soft looking hair and him holding a cute lightning bolt. The wind god that is often accompanies the thunder god according to legends is depicted as a little play mate here, making him look like he’s going out to play by stepping on the clouds, children will no longer have to fear the thunder god and wind god with their newly adapted image.

Noritoshi’s artwork is filled with raw flowing creativity, with not even an ounce of disguise, they are rustic and full of warmth. Picasso spent his whole life learning how to draw like a child, much like many others before him and even after, they spend their whole lives finding their calling. What we’re in search of is the raw, untouched and primitive side of ourselves.
It is Freidrich Nietzsche who introduced the three metamorphoses and adapted the child as the final phase of spiritual transformation, he proposed, “The child is innocence and forgetting, a new beginning, a game, a wheel rolling on its own, a prime movement, a sacred yes.” Noritoshi’s work might just be the ship on a voyage to bring us back to our childhood.