In Korehiko Hino's works, we are at instantaneously struck by the stunned state of his subjects, who seem to have suddenly been placed under microscopic examination. Their bewildered eyes, awkward, bent poses and encased environments reflect the claustrophobic anxiety of Japanese society and the explosion of technology and information. The constant bombardment of new technology and surprising discoveries, from mobile phones and computers to genetic manipulation, suggest that it is impossible for man to catch up with the present, much less to predict the future. The enormous daily pressures of modern life and the possibility of extending life through science, have taken us beyond our once simplistic understanding and appreciation of life to profoundly shake the very foundation of what we define as "reality." Through Hino's art, viewers absorb this confounded emotion through osmosis and learn to feel equally blinded by the intense competition, rapid development, and boundless possibilities of the future.
As Japanese contemporary art develops along a maze of diverse routes, Korehiko Hino's work is clearly founded on his unique vocabulary for the expression of human subjects. The artist's image of innocent, guileless young figures is based at least partly on his wife; the works elicit sharply conflicting responses as the seemingly physically mature individual is sent spiraling back through the years to a young, even infantile mental state. Each figure's physical form contradicts their naive facial expressions, causing difficulty when attempting to categorize them as adults or children. The pulled pigtails of the girl in Holding her hair (Lot 560) conjures up memories of children playing in playgrounds, where boys bullied and chased girls; the boy of Youth (Lot 559) with slumped shoulders and an outstretched neck resembles a small student half heartedly listening in class. Both figures are not fixed to the ground but rather hover, caught in limbo between the world they know and world they are forced to live in.
By depicting the girl in Holding her hair and the boy in Youth in mere undergarments, Hino unveils the vulnerability of the contemporary person in the face of the ever-encroaching pressures and influences from society. The severity of each of the faces makes each person look primitive as bewildered animals, thus showing the individual's further isolation from a society speeding through a technological revolution. While the parted mouth and wide eyed gaze expresses fear, the appearance also resembles a moment of awe and deep intrigue for the unknown
Hino suggests that these figures trapped in their entirety and must involuntarily proceed to live in an advanced world as seen in the rigid gestures of Youth and Cold Woman (Lot 560). However, despite their drastic appearance which suggests a negative response to this oncoming train of change, the brightly coloured backgrounds suggest a spark of optimism and an overall gratitude of a reformed society. In Flower nobleman (Lot 636) we find a body that hastily developed while the mind was caught mesmerized with the societal progression as represented by the psychedelic flowers that spin like a kaleidoscopic image. Each flower of this decade old wallpaper is not dissimilar to the wide array of digital equipment in our lives. They fit together harmoniously and compliment one another in function and appearance. Using a floral patterned wallpaper for this gawking man, we are reminded that though overwhelming, the gadgets we use everyday convenience us and enhances our lives.
If the identity of a person can be determined by our unique facial characteristics or independent wardrobe choices, which are influenced by our peers and societal trends, then the lack of such distinctiveness in Hino's painting means a loss greater than clothing. The figures in Hino's paintings have in essence, lost their center of gravity and are wanderers unable to identify with the drastic changes in society. The rapid growth of communicative technology ironically has isolated rather than coagulate the many members of society yet ironically, we are unable to survive without it.
Stylistically, Hino's basic themes of composition continue, but in contrast with earlier works, Hino progresses from an ideal middle ground, in the figure's skin tones and textures to a technicoloured backdrop that better illustrates irresistible attraction for society's advancements. The skin is maintained creamy and warm, glazed like fresh pottery. The reflective state of the background against the polished surface of the bodies also presents the figures as sculptures, static in motion. The viewer is flanked by illusion and reality, and in the composition Hino devotes his concentration to the central figure, his or her bodily gesture and deliberately exaggerated facial expression. These form a balanced but not static triangular composition that draws the viewer into its imaginative space and into mutual confrontation with the subject of the painting.
The combination of the figure's colours and physical surrounding straddles a classical realist depiction and the subject's own subjective fabrications.
His solid painting technique, allows him to pose deep questions about personal identity and cultural awareness with concerns to technological innovations.