Key Hiraga was born in 1936 in Tokyo, Japan. After graduating from Tokyo University Key Hiraga devoted himself to art. In 1956 he started to participate in some important group exhibitions and this year marked the beginning of his brilliant artistic career. In 1965 a granted scholarship allowed Hiraga to move to Paris.
After initial cultural shock, he enriched his artistic poetics, at that time characterized by almost total monochromatism with a burst of color.
That same year, William Lieberman, the curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was struck by the quality of Hiraga’s paintings while visiting his studio and decided to include them in the “New Japanese Painting and Sculpture” exhibition in 1966.
In 1966-1967 Hiraga joined the ORA Group, related to the art critic Gérald Gassiot-Talabots, who placed the young artist in the so-called Narrative Figuration. This artistic movement differed from the social neutrality of the School of Paris and the formalism of the american Pop Art.
Crucial for the Hiraga’s career was his selection, together with other six artists, to represent Japan at the tenth Sao Paolo Biennale in 1969. In that occasion the art critic R.C. Kenedy wrote an article about Hiraga, saying:
“Without his presence the Biennal would have been a sadder occasion. He was represented by a mere handful of canvases but in these he revealed himself as a great pictorial artist.”
During his stay in Europe Hiraga participated in many personal and group exhibitions in countries like France, The Netherlands, Italy, United Kindom and Japan, where he went back indefinitely in 1977.
Key Hiraga died in 2000 in Hakone-Yumoto at the age of 64.
© Galleria del Naviglio, Milano
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
Solo show at Travers Gallery, Edinburgh, UK
Gallery Lambert, Paris, France
Travers Gallery, Edinburgh, UK
“The Elegant Life of Mr. P.”, Gallery T, Haarlem, Netherlands
“The Elegant Life of Key Hiraga”, Gallery Seven, Tokyo, Japan
Gallery T, Haarlem, Netherlands
“La elegante vita di Mr. Key”, Galleria del Naviglio, Milan, Italy
Galleria Graffica, Tokyo, Japan
“New Works by Key Hiraga”, Fuma Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Hiratsuka Museum of Art, Hiratsuka, Japan
Bokushin Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
“The Elegant Life of Key Hiraga, A Japanese artist in Europe 1965-1974”, The Mayor Gallery, London, UK
“The Elegant Life of Key Hiraga”, Studio Gariboldi, Milan, Italy
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
Shell Art Award Exhibition, wins the third place
“Seize Jeune Peintres Japonais”, Gallery Lambert, Paris, France
Gallery Argos, Nantes, France
“New Japanese Painting and Sculpture”, MoMa, New York, USA
“La Figuration Narrative”, Gallery Creuze, Paris (Praga, Lausanne e Lyon)
mostra ORA Group, Gallery Jacqueline Ranson, Paris, France
“L’Oeil de Boeuf”, Gallery T, Haarlem, Netherlands
mostra ORA Group, Jacqueline Ranson, Parigi, France
“12 Artistes Japonais 68”, various galleries in France
exhibition of Contemporary Japanese Art, Modern frontier section (Eros and Humour), ninth edition
X Sao Paolo Biennale, Brasil
“Japanese Artists from Europe”, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan
Salon des Beaux Arts e Salon de la Realité Nouvelle, Museo dell’Arte Moderna, Paris, France
“The 1960s: A Decade of Change in Contemporary Japanese Art”, Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan
“Japanese Anti-Art: Now and Then”, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan
“Japanese Ways, Western Means. Art of the 1980s in Japan”, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia