BERLONI is proud to present Shōzō [肖像]- a decade of portraits and places by award-winning British figurative painter Carl Randall, in a synoptic exploration of Modern Japan.
In 2003 Carl was awarded a Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Scholarship to continue his painting career in Tokyo, during which time he was selected to be artist in residence in Hiroshima City, to document the survivors of the Atomic Bomb, some works of which can be seen here.
More recently 2012 saw the artist win the prestigious BP Travel Prize, awarded by the National Portrait Gallery, London. The commission was to paint the people and places along the Tokaido Road as it exists today - a route connecting Tokyo and Kyoto.
Carl's extended period of time spent in Tokyo and the years between was used to develop his interest in both cities and portraiture, and can be separated loosely into two parts. On the one hand large panels and Japanese sheets in oil, acrylic, and ink depict densely packed groups of faces, inspired by the crowds of Tokyo. Each individual is painted from life; countless sitters one by one visited the artist in his studio, one face added to the next in a growing map of characters. The work is a response to the overpopulation and remoteness, community and anonymity of the typical city dweller. Sprawls of
people occupy the very same closed public space, whilst minting isolation from the other, a very modern Tokyo phenomena.
The second strand of work combines people and places, narrative figure compositions tell the quotidian story of those individuals Randall would encounter in their world he had come to be a part of. Neon placards and corporational Ads cast light on alleyways and high streets; consumer culture overload works its cogs in the form of lines of people, and of prowling ponytailed temptresses.
The paintings are meticulous and verge on the hyper real, made in collaboration with over one thousand Japanese natives who would volunteer to become a part of this documentation of their moment in time. Flatness of perspective and distortion of the real take Randall's work beyond representation of the everyday and into something altogether foreign; inimitable - obsessive observation is transformed into a depiction of the east through the eyes of a western painter who spent years immersed within a culture that he has appropriated into his own.
Carl Randall is a graduate of The Slade of Fine Art (BA, Painting), The Princes Drawing School, and Tokyo University of Fine Arts (MFA & PhD in Fine Art). He has exhibited internationally at The Royal Academy of Arts, London; The National Portrait Gallery, London; The Mall Galleries, London; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Arts, Japan; and a Solo Exhibition in 2014 at The Ando Hiroshige Tokaido Musuem in Shizouka, Japan. His work is placed in numerous private and museum collections including the Fondation Carmignac, Paris, University College London Collection, and Tokyo Geidai Museum.