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Key Hiraga

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Key Hiraga, Untitled, 1973. Courtesy: Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris

Key Hiraga, Untitled, 1973. Courtesy: Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris

Loevenbruck presents a rediscovery of Key Hiraga’s works from the 60s and the 70s. Hiraga was born in 1936 in Tokyo. After graduating from Tokyo University in 1956, he decided to dedicate himself to painting, as self-taught artist. In 1964 Hiraga won Grand Prix at 3rd National Young Artists Exhibition in Japan. This award gave him the opportunity to move to France.

From 1965 to 1977, he lived in Paris. At that time, Paris was home to new emancipating artistic ways as Pop Art and Figuration Narrative. In Paris, Hiraga was first inspired by Dubuffet and Art Brut. Gradually, Paris allowed Hiraga to let go of the Japanese pictorial tradition, he started to paint a vivid and colorful Pigalle. His neighborhood known for its sex shops and exhilarating nightlife. It became the breeding ground to paint a monstrous and grotesque human comedy where erotism and gender is questioned as in the expressionist works of Richard Lindner.

Hiraga had the strong will to preserve the importance of the lowest instincts of the human being and its animal nature in order to fight against the castrating morality and the mechanization of the modern society. Hiraga left behind this vision of a constant mutating body. It can be found in 1988 Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira, work that founded contemporary Manga. Hiraga returned to Japan in 1977. He died in Hakone in 2000.