KOCHI - BIRDS ... - A Tribute to Beirut !

From 20 July to 20 August - Espace Claude Lemand

  • KOCHI, Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird. The Phoenix.

    Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird. The Phoenix. Watercolour and graphite on paper, 76 x 56 cm. © Manabu Kochi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • KOCHI, Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 1.

    Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 1. Watercolour and graphite on paper, 76 x 56 cm. © Manabu Kochi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • KOCHI, Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 2.

    Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 2. Watercolour and graphite on paper, 76 x 56 cm. © Manabu Kochi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • KOCHI, Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 3.

    Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 3. Watercolour and graphite on paper, 76 x 56 cm. © Manabu Kochi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • KOCHI, Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 4.

    Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 4. Watercolour and graphite on paper, 76 x 56 cm. © Manabu Kochi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • KOCHI, Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 5.

    Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 5. Watercolour and graphite on paper, 76 x 56 cm. © Manabu Kochi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • KOCHI, Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 6.

    Portrait of The Non-Existent-Bird 6. Watercolour and graphite on paper, 76 x 56 cm. © Manabu Kochi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • KOCHI, Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 7.

    Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 7. Watercolour and graphite on paper, 76 x 56 cm. © Manabu Kochi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • KOCHI, Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 8.

    Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 8. Watercolour and graphite on paper, 76 x 56 cm. © Manabu Kochi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • KOCHI, Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 9.

    Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 9. Watercolour and graphite on paper, 76 x 56 cm. © Manabu Kochi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • KOCHI, Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 10.

    Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 10. Watercolour and graphite on paper, 76 x 56 cm. © Manabu Kochi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • KOCHI, Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 11.

    Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird 11. Watercolour and graphite on paper, 76 x 56 cm. © Manabu Kochi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

Manabu KOCHI - THE PHOENIX and PORTRAITS OF THE-NON-EXISTENT-BIRD.
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Claude Lemand.

« Born in 1954 in Okinawa, Japan, Manabu Kochi fin­ished his training in Italy and came to live in Paris in 1981. Working in the fields of sculp­ture, painting and engraving, he has suc­ceeded in cre­ating a per­sonal link between Primitive Arts and the most inno­va­tive trends in European Modern Art. His works are full of phi­los­ophy, humour, colour and har­mony. Since October 2018, the museum of the Institut du monde arabe in Paris now houses a very impor­tant col­lec­tion of works by Manabu Kochi, thanks to the Claude and France Lemand Donation.

From the moment we first met in Paris in December 1988, he told me, ‘I tend to be an advo­cate of har­mony rather than con­flict, of the har­mony amongst all living beings, who rep­re­sent such resources; seeking for purity is illu­sionary as it ends up in fan­tasy’. This com­ment trans­lates the artist’s paci­fist phi­los­ophy, that opposes all types of dic­ta­tor­ship and war that can only lead to destruc­tion, death and tragedy, as was the case for Japan and on the island of Okinawa.
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New Birds by Manabu Kochi.

The artist does not seem to be attempting to depict real birds, but rather birds from his pro­lific per­sonal imag­i­na­tion and from uni­versal legends, birds from the his­tory and cul­ture of the Okinawa archipelago and those from the vast variety of regions and cul­tures of other con­ti­nents: nearby Oceania and Asia, as well as those of the Americas and Africa that res­onate with him, and those of Europe, where he landed in 1979. They are of the land and sea, aquatic and cosmic. They are familiar with people and can fly above them to guide them in their travels. They are born of meta­mor­phoses and grafts between birds and humans.

His birds soar above cities, seas and lands. They are atten­tive to the out­side world, they observe, reflect and are at one with all of nature’s ele­ments. We see them in pro­file, with an open, rounded eye ‒ rarely from the front with both eyes. And, con­trary to the nar­ra­tives and art of monothe­istic reli­gions, there are no doves or crows in the world of Manabu Kochi, nor are there any all-white or all-black birds: they are all colours!

His cre­ativity and his entire body of work are char­ac­terised by play­ful­ness and freedom of expres­sion. All his birds are healthy and happy to live, fly and sing, alone, in a pair or in a group. Pairs of birds or human-birds are depicted face-to-face or back-to-back. Parents and their young are grouped into fam­i­lies with paternal or maternal atti­tudes. They are bound by sol­i­darity and live in har­mony.

Of the dozens of birds cre­ated by Manabu Kochi, none is injured or dead. The Phoenix is the only excep­tion, drawn in 2019 when fire rav­aged Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, but as a symbol and a promise of its immi­nent recon­struc­tion. The Phoenix, known as Houou (empress bird) in Japan, is the only myth­ical bird in Manabu Kochi’s world; it appears on women’s kimonos in Okinawa and stands for peace and hap­pi­ness, love and mar­ital har­mony, pros­perity, longevity and spir­i­tual ele­va­tion.

Copyright © Galerie Claude Lemand 2012.

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