Spotlight: Japanese Artist Daiya Yamamoto’s Meticulous Trompe-l’Oeil Paintings Astound in a New Paris Show

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About the Artist: Japanese artist Daiya Yamamoto (b. 1986) received his B.F.A. in 2010 and M.F.A. in 2012, having majored in oil painting, from the Hiroshima City University. Their photo-realistic style draws inspiration from the rich historical tradition of trompe l’oeil, wherein the eye is tricked into perceiving three-dimensional space within a flat surface. Yamamoto is most well known for his austere and deceptively simple compositions that are frequently centered on motifs from nature—such as a single flower or small branch. The focus on arrangement evokes both 17th-century Northern European still life painting as well as more contemporary modes of Minimalism. Ultimately, Yamamoto’s work examines the boundaries of perception and the power of illusion.

What You Need to Know: On view through July 1, 2023, Daiya Yamamoto is the subject of an exhibition at Galerie Taménaga in Paris—the artist’s first solo with the gallery. The show features the debut of approximately 30 new works completed in the artist’s signature trompe l’oeil style—which has gained traction as a movement in Japan. Though he has been included in group presentations with the gallery in Tokyo and Kyoto, this is the first opportunity for visitors to truly immerse themselves in the artist’s vision and practice alone. Highlights include a range of plant-based compositions, as well as works depicting objects, such as a garden rake.

Why We Like It: Daiya Yamamoto’s new body of work expounds on the visual lexicon that has become a core element of his artistic practice. Employing clean, vacant grounds for his paintings, the individual elements, like a stem of flowers or a vine of leaves, take on greater significance, bolstered by their singularity within the canvas. Contributing to the visual experience of trompe l’oeil are the delicate, unobtrusive yet still significant additions of supports for the central motif. In (2022), the curling branch is shown held by a length of tape several shades darker than the ground and seemingly extends around to the opposite side of the canvas. In (2022), the branch is depicted held aloft by several lengths of string—with the shadow of the fine threads delicately rendered so as to contribute to the illusion of space. The elements together create a contemplative, artistically rigorous form of painted poetry. On the artist’s work, writer Julie Chaizemartin said, “Daiya Yamamoto’s tour de force is managing to merge the heritage of the Flemish masters with the purity of Japanese aesthetics, the latter being discernible in the purity of his lines and the fragile immobility of his compositions, immutably inscribed in a fabulous balance within the white void of the background of the canvas. His works provide a seductive sensation of harmony.”

See featured works from the exhibition below.

Daiya Yamamoto, (2022). Photo: Jean Louis Losi. Courtesy of Galerie Taménaga.

Daiya Yamamoto, (2022). Photo: Jean Louis Losi. Courtesy of Galerie Taménaga.

Daiya Yamamoto, (2022). Photo: Jean Louis Losi. Courtesy of Galerie Taménaga.

Daiya Yamamoto, (2022). Photo: Jean Louis Losi. Courtesy of Galerie Taménaga.

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