In this print, Kobayashi's sphere cracks apart to reveal a labyrinthine world in which birds, fish, mice, snails and various other insect and plant forms weave through and over man's decaying urban structures.
Unlike many artists now who praise technology and covet the artificial and unnatural, Kobayashi genuinely seeks a return to nature alone. In commenting on this print he has said that modern civilisation, in going against the laws of nature, reminds him of the conceited creators of the tower of Babel; modern science aims at progress by defying nature but he seeks to follow the provisions of nature. Hence he uses wood to do his printing, reverting to wood-engraving, an unusual medium in modern Japan. As he applies his chisel to the wood, he loses himself in the rings of the boxwood which nature has taken hundreds of years to create, and then his work comes alive. In creating this print Kobayashi used ten blocks, each meticulously carved with his own surreal vision. He does believe however that if one hundred people viewed his print there would be one hundred different ways of appreciating it.
Kobayashi was born in Kyoto, educated at the International Art Institute there, and now lives in Tokyo.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 57, 60.
Sosei no toki - midorino hoshi -
Place where the work was made
Heisei period 1989 - → Japan
85.5 x 85.0 cm image; 100.0 x 110.0 cm sheet; 115.5 x 108.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., pecnil "Keisei Kobayashi 1991".
Gift of the artist 1993
Not on display
© KOBAYASHI Keisei
Where the work was made
Shown in 1 exhibition
The Urban Bonsai:
- Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 04 Mar 1992–04 May 1992
- National Art Gallery, Wellington, Wellington 20 Jun 1992–09 Aug 1992
- Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch 12 Sep 1992–29 Oct 1992
- Manawatu Art Gallery, New Zealand 13 Nov 1992–10 Jan 1993
- The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne 18 Mar 1993–25 Apr 1993
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 08 May 1993–01 Aug 1993
- Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Emu Plains 11 Mar 1994–24 Apr 1994
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra 19 May 1994–19 Jun 1994
- Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown 15 Jul 1994–21 Aug 1994
- Moree Plains Gallery, Moree 11 Nov 1994–24 Dec 1994
- Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, Murwillumbah 01 Feb 1995–05 Mar 1995
Referenced in 1 publication
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 57, 58 (colour illus.), 60. cat.no 31