© Keizo Morishita by SIAE

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Keizo Morishita was born in 1944 in Kitakyushu, Japan. At only 19 years old, he was one of the first Oriental artists to move to Italy, thanks to a scholarship. In Milan, he attended the Brera Academy under the guidance of Marino Marini and graduated in sculpture in 1968. He then preferred to express himself pictorially, developing a personal style that stemmed from a thoughtful and cultured encounter between Eastern culture and European artistic expression. From the Archipelagos of the 1970s to the more recent Landscapes of Memory, his paintings present ideal landscapes of absolute formal purity and great chromatic intensity, ordered according to a perfect geometry of forms and bathed in crystalline light. His works are characterised by dreamlike, fairytale-like geometry that becomes more and more pronounced as the years go by, in contrast to the softer taste popular in those years with Arte Povera and Informal Art. On the one hand, this refers to the need for order and rigour typical of Japanese culture (and Morishita's geometries are often evocative of Japanese views and landscapes), on the other hand it seems to derive from the impact on the artist of a certain Western culture, in particular Max Ernst, Paul Klee and above all Surrealism. In addition to painting, he also successfully ventured into ceramics. Throughout his career, he has been the protagonist of an intense exhibition activity in public and private galleries, both in Italy and abroad. Although he continues to reside in Milan, he occasionally returns to Japan, where he exhibits in numerous solo shows. In the 1980s, he designed several stage sets for the Teatro della Scala in Milan, and in the same period he regularly exhibited at Galleria Studio F.22 in Palazzolo sull'Oglio (BS). In 1998 he was the protagonist of a major exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Gazoldo degli Ippoliti and two years later he was honoured with a large anthological exhibition at the Galleria del Naviglio in Milan and Venice. His premature death, aged only 59, occurred on 5 April 2003 following a serious accident. To understand Morishita's poetics it is useful to quote the words of art critic Franco Russoli: "Keizo's geometric forms suddenly take on the fascinating power of the rocks on the ponds of Nijo Castle in Kyoto, of the stones on the white gravel of the Zen gardens in Komyo-in, of the Kofun Ishibutai, the megalithic boulders in the Nara countryside. Keizo composes his visions in an absolute harmony of formal relationships, architectures of light and colour built according to canons of abstract harmony. But what appears to be a play on forms is instead a recovery of memory and feelings, an image of a concept of life and reality'. It can therefore be said that Keizo Morishita has always carried the culture, traditions and customs of his country of origin to the depths of his soul, succeeding - and this is his real success - in bringing together, without any opposition, the artistic reality of the Eastern environment with that of the West. Witness to this are his marvellous paintings where it is all a clear expression of delicate poetry realised and presented through visual images that are highly expressive of clear messages that arise spontaneously from his heart and his intelligence.

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