Atsushi Suwa was born in Hokkaido, Japan in 1967, and received a master’s degree from Musashino Art University in 1992.He took up residence in Spain in 1994 as an overseas art schlorship under a program of Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs. During his sojourn there, he was awarded First Prize in an international painting competition sponsored by the Barcelo Foundation and launched into full-fledged activity as a professional artist. Upon his return to Japan, Suwa continued his exploration of realism for the purpose of going back to the origins of painting. In 2000, he unveiled works taking as their subject Kazuo Ohno, a pioneer of avant-garde “buto” dancing. He produced this series with Ohno’s cooperation, by communicating with and gathering information about the latter for an entire year. The methodology of this production exerted an immense influence on his subsequent approach to creation.
Suwa begins by probing and engaging in dialogue with his subjects under a set of conditions he determines. Through the dialogue, he elicits the story, thought, and other elements making up the subject’s background.The process of communication with his subjects is an important factor for Suwa, and signals a break from realism in the classic sense, which does not go beyond the level of visual duplication of the subject.