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The Whimsical Etchings of Shigeki KURODA

Eastern Rain - 2018, etching, ed. 30

Shigeki Kuroda (b.1953) is known worldwide for the whimsical bicycle and umbrella compositions that he has been releasing since the 1970s.

The riders are never clearly identified as they pedal on to some unknown destination - in fact, the viewer cannot even distinguish the riders’ expressions. Kuroda said a long time ago that he was interested in how to evoke the passage of time. ”If you are riding a bicycle you have to keep moving otherwise you will fall off.”

In terms of design, he likes that the semicircles of the umbrellas contrast pleasingly with the round bicycle wheels. Depending on his mood, the etchings can be monochrome or multicolored and, recently, he has been featuring original watercolors due to an unfortunate and unexplainable pain in his arm that makes printing etchings difficult.

Beni, - etching, 2019, ed. 50

Several years ago our Tokyo gallery was contacted by the Japan Police Association’s trade magazine with a request to display a Kuroda image on one of their publication’s covers. The artist agreed, the image was duly provided and graced the cover. This being Japan, a few months later we received a stern letter from the Public Affair Department of the Police Association, reminding us that in Japan, it is illegal to ride a bicycle and hold an umbrella at the same time.

Passage - 2010. etching, ed. 20

No matter how the Police Association may have felt about it, countless other people have appreciated the whimsy of Kuroda-san’s oeuvre over the years since he chose this theme. Please reach out to me if you would like to see more works by the artist as I have a few additional prints available that are not featured here.


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