Keizo Morishita's Biography

Keizo Morishita (Kitakyushu, 4 February 1944 – Milan, 5 April 2003) was a Japanese painter who lived most of his life in Italy.

Morishita was born in Kitakyūshū-shi, in the Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan. In 1963, at 19 years old, he obtained a scholarship and moved to Milan to study Arts. He attended Marino Marini’s classes at the Brera Fine Arts Academy, where he graduated in 1968. He lived in Milan the rest of his life until his death in 2003.

Although Morishita majored in sculpture, his elected medium was painting. His mixed cultural identity tended to protect his origins, though paired by a great intellectual curiosity prompted him to explore different strategies and procedures from the majority of his fellow students and lead him out of the domain where he had already consolidated important and confirmed critics’ recognition.

The first approach was in Milan in the early Sixties, with direct contact with the art avant-garde which was still linked with Spazialismo.

His works are characterized by dreamlike, fairy-tale geometries and with the passing of the years more and more accentuated, in contrast to the softer taste widespread in those years by poor and informal art. All this on the one hand refers to the need for order and rigor typical of Japanese culture (and often Morishita’s geometries are also evocative of Japanese views and landscapes), on the other hand it seems to derive from the impact on the artist of a certain Western culture, in particular Max Ernst, Paul Klee and Surrealism.

In addition to being a painter, he was also an appreciated ceramist, having, among other things, created abstract style vases and panels for the Studio Ernan manufactories in Albisola Superiore and San Giorgio di Albissola Marina.

Morishita’s first exhibition was held in Padua in 1967 at the La Chiocciola Gallery. The anthology considered to be the most representative was held at the Galleria del Naviglio in Milan in 2000. Among the posthumous exhibitions, we recall the 2006 one at Studio F.22 in Palazzolo sull’Oglio, a gallery with which Morishita had worked since the 1980s.

Many art critics and curators have written about his work, including Franco Russoli, Roberto Sanesi, Emilio Tadini, Valerio Adami, Ottavio Missoni, Milena Milani, Carlo Franza, Luigi Carluccio, Renzo Margonari, Walter Schönenberger, Taijin Tendo, Keiko Asako, Tani Arata and Rolly Marchi.

Throughout his career Morishita exhibited mostly in Italy, with exhibitions in Milan, Rome, Venice, Turin, Florence, Padova and Brescia. He also exhibited his work in Switzerland (Lugano and Geneva); France (Paris and Saint Tropez); Denmark (Copenhagen); Belgium (Ghent); England (Chester); Taiwan, China, Mexico, and Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Niigata and his hometown Kitakyūshū).