The Beautiful and The Grotesque explores the fine line between the two - both subjects are often associated with human bodies and femininity, yet the two evoke such contrasting emotions from the beholder. Nishiyama uses a series of selected works to challenge our senses through abstraction, nudeness, and intimacy documented in different mediums. As a female artist with mixed cultural heritages from Japan, Hong Kong, and Italy, whilst based between Hong Kong, London, and New York, she uses art as a gateway to confront the disquiet within her, and shine light on socio-political issues that she and many others face as women of colour.
This series doubles as a palimpsest of Nishiyama's identity as she drew inspiration from poetry, extended essays, philosophy, socio-politics, along with her personal experiences. From Georges Bataille's 'Death and Eroticism' to traditional Japanese customs, Nishiyama shows us the world seen through her lens that has been moulded by influences from the West, the East, and everything in between. Similarly, she elucidates to the world that beauty is found within the grotesque and vice versa. The fragility found in human nature and the superfluity of humans' needs to fixate on the malignant is delicately exposed to spark rumination.
One is often quick to dichotomize the beautiful and the grotesque. However, Nishiyama has opened our eyes to the blurred area in between where they coexist in harmony, especially via femininity. We are implored to find balance between the two, to pay attention to the fine line in between, thereby finding strength in vulnerability and seeking peace in the chaos that we call life to keep marching on.
About the artist
Mizuki Nishiyama is a Japanese-Hong Kong painter who uses raw textures and bold hues to express the multifacetedness of human nature. Nishiyama has mastered six languages and immersed herself in diverse cultures from both the East and the West. After completing her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Parsons School of Design, Nishiyama currently travels between Hong Kong, London, and New York to complete her Masters of Fine Arts degree at Central Saint Martins whilst establishing her artist identity.
Nishiyama explores a myriad of concepts through her works, including her cultural identity, femininity, intimacy, human fragility, and more. Every brushstroke paints raw emotions and brutality as she confronts her trauma and pervasive socio-political issues. She draws inspiration greatly from her personal turmoil along with the arts, such as poetry, philosophy, music, and dance to create vivid yet perturbing artworks that allows her to find strength in vulnerability. Nishiyama’s creative journey is one for her to explore her identity whilst simultaneously creating one to make sense of what it means to be a modern woman of mixed heritage in this tumultuous world.