Born in Osaka in 1924, Kenji Yoshida studied art under Hayashi Kiyoshi and Furukido Masaru before his studies were interrupted by the war. He miraculously survived this period, having been selected as a Kamikaze pilot by the Naval Air Force. He came out unharmed but traumatised by the experience. He threw himself back into art and embarked on exploring the forces that brighten life. From this moment on, all of his artworks featured the same title: “Life”.
From 1957 he exhibited his work in Tokyo before moving to Paris in 1964 where he resided until his death in 2009. He worked alongside the British artist Stanley Hayter and spent many years at his Atelier 17. His artworks are characterised by a remarkable sense of movement and the use of simple yet universal shapes. He often produced his works using numerous canvases and gold leaf, something that had transpired from his inspiration from classical Japanese painting on screens. Although he remained faithful to his roots, he also had many western influences throughout his life, creating artworks of unique countrysides from the East and West.
In 1993, Yoshida’s work reached new heights internationally, where he exhibited his work in a solo show at the British Museum in London. In 2004 during the Festival of Canterbury, he created a large octagonal installation “Sei-Mei” (Life Force) inside Canterbury Cathedral. He passed away in 2009 at the age of 85.