photo: SAIKI Taku

Myself Portrait 01

ArtistSAITO Makoto
Material/ Techniqueacrylic and oil ink on canvas
Size/ DurationH196×W155.8cm
Copyright Notice© SAITO Makoto
Year of acquisition/ donation2011
DescriptionBorn in Fukuoka, Japan in 1952. Lives and works in Tokyo.

Saito Makoto has been involved in graphic design since the 1970s, drawing attention from the outset in Japan and abroad for works that have won him numerous awards in Japan, Europe, and North and South America, reflecting the impact he has had on his times in the field of design. Along with his design work he has been seriously engaged in painting since the mid-1990s. The critic ASADA Akira has described his expressive approach as “true computer painting.” The paintings he produces using this approach reflect his perceptive views of contemporary society.

Saito employs an original method using the computer as a brush to boldly deconstruct images. He remembers at an early age being taken by his father to movies, and the series of fragmented images he saw in scenes of the films. He converts those images by superimposing 300 or more layers onto them, causing their particles to break up, dissolve, and lose the contours and facial expressions that identify individuals, thus transforming the figures into curious fluid-like bodies. The body of work in the museum’s collection represents Saito’s first such endeavor. The series is based on a scene from a movie by François TRUFFAUT, into which the artist has imposed his own figure. The expression of the young man staring forward in "Myself Portrait 01" is difficult to read, but it projects a disquieting atmosphere and a strong sense of solitude. The negative form of the same image appears in "Myself Portrait 02", suggesting its potential for taking on multiple forms. Extracting the emotions inside human beings in this way, he attempts to reveal an image of a new human being.