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Art

#cities#Keita Morimoto#lights#painting

Keita Morimoto’s Glowing Street Scenes Pit Connection Against Solitude

June 26, 2024

Jackie Andres

a girl wearing a hat looks down at her phone as she leans against a vending machine that glows.

All images © Keita Morimoto, shared with permission

While dense cities carry an air of extraversion on the surface, it doesn’t take much digging beyond this superficial layer to see that sometimes even the most crowded places can also be the most solitary. Keita Morimoto (previously) uncovers this double-edged experience through cinematic depictions of street scenes rendered in acrylic and oil paint.

Living and working in the world’s most populous city, the Tokyo-based artist has a firsthand understanding of what it means to traverse the paradoxical. “Meeting and getting to know people in the city, and observing how such a vibrant place can still isolate so many, has profoundly influenced my work,” says Morimoto. “These experiences have pushed me to explore deeper themes of connection and solitude.”

Morimoto’s subjects and cityscapes are guided by similar themes of contrast and opposition. Glowing vending machines, vacant phone booths, neon signs, and illuminated phone screens radiate against the darkness of night and place an emphasis on obscurity. What relationship do humans have to these mechanical objects, whether they are present within the composition or not? As multiple figures congregate on dark street corners and fix their eyes upon these lit devices, why do none of them interact? As the feeling of disconnect rises to the surface, Moriomoto’s painterly strokes mimic an almost pixelated effect, literally and figuratively highlighting a fractured point of view.

Morimoto is getting ready for a forthcoming solo show at Long Story Short in Paris and another at Almine Rech in New York City later this year. His first book release will also accompany a solo presentation of new works at GINZA SIX in Tokyo. Follow along with the artist’s busy year via Instagram and his website.

a vacant phone booth along the side of a road glows a yellow hue

three figure stand at a sreet corner at night. a vending machine and two parking signs glow

a woman stands next to a glowing vending machine at night. a mysterious man in a hat stands on the other side of it, in the shadows. a glowing yellow parking sign looms above them.

above the doorway of a small shop is a red, neon sign that reads, "TROUBLE BEACH"

a panoramic view of two street corners at dusk in Tokyo.

five people linger around a street corner at night. two look into a glowing vending machine, two others stand in the darkness as one finishes a drink, and another talks on the phone.

against the darkness of night, a yellow payphone glows under the blue light of the container it is encased in.

along the side of a street at night, a lone vending machine glows

three individuals stand inside a corner store endcap cooler filled with drinks, as it emanates a neutral glow.

along the pavement before a set of stairs, two vending machines glow next to each other. a street lamp nearby emits a pink luminescence.

#cities#Keita Morimoto#lights#painting

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