Chocolate Beauty

In his sensitive and non-judgmental way, Phil Akashi lets himself be inspired and questioned by the popular notion of the Chinese Dream.


The Chocolate Beauty series (Shanghai 2011-12) illustrates the artist's feelings of a spiritual encounter in the city of Chongqing in 2010. While he was intentionally getting lost in this gargantuan city, Phil Akashi met an anonymous Chongqing child greedily eating chocolate - a luxurious product his parents could not afford or did not even know existed ten years ago. Akashi found himself playing with the child for an afternoon. Six months later in his studio in Shanghai, the artist decided to dedicate a series to the child.


One year later, to highlight the series, the artist set up pop up exhibitions in symbolic locations all around Shanghai. This way his work was presented to a local audience who unlikely would visit private or public exhibitions. During the month of October 2013, without any pre-approved authorization, the artist set up exhibitions at the Yuyuan Garden, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the China Art Museum, the Jing'an Sculpture Park and in several traditional shikumen neighborhoods currently being demolished. To complete the series, the artist presented his artworks at the historic Bund, one of the major locations in China symbolizing the Chinese Dream where everyday thousands of Chinese tourists gather.


 “I wanted to offer a different way of viewing and to add significance to my message. It was also a way to show my love for this fantastic city but also to respectfully tease a country where censorship and control are still sovereign.” Phil Akashi


By revisiting the traditional use of Chinese seals, arranging seal imprints as if it was pixels and by mixing them with one of the most contemporary medium (aerosol spray), the artist both witnesses the impressive pace of change in nowadays China and creates his own and personal language to link East and West, tradition and modernity.



Phil Akashi Shanghai Chocolate Beauty

Phil Akashi at work in the lane of his studio, Shanghai 2011




Phil Akashi - Cookies & Cream - Chocolate Beauty Series


Ink and cinnabar paste on canvas with seal imprints with Chinese character: 
美/“beautiful”, Shanghai 2012. 59"x78.7"x1.5" / 150x200x4cm









Phil Akashi Chinese seals aerosol spray Shanghai China
Chinese seals, ink & aerosol spray, Shanghai 2011



Phil Akashi - Lemon - Arne Quinze Shanghai Jing'an Sculpture Park
LEMON in Jing'an Sculpture Park, Shanghai 2013



Phil Akashi at work, secret spot Shanghai
Phil Akashi at work in abandoned place, secret spot, Shanghai  



Phil Akashi - Strawberry - Chocolate Beauty Series

STRAWBERRY Cinnabar paste on canvas with seal imprints with Chinese character: 美/“beautiful”,
Shanghai 2011. 59"x78.7"x1.5" / 150x200x4cm




Phil Akashi Exhibition, the Bund, Shanghai 2013
Solo exhibition at the Bund, Shanghai 2013  





Phil Akashi Blueberry The Bund Shanghai 2013
BLUEBERRY at the Bund, Shanghai 2013




Phil Akashi - Stracciattella - Chocolate Beauty Series


Ink and cinnabar paste on canvas with seal imprints with Chinese character: 
美/“beautiful”, Shanghai 2011. 59"x78.7"x1.5" / 150x200x4cm



Phil Akashi Peppermint shikumen demolition Shanghai exhibition
PEPPERMINT in a shikumen in process of demolition, Shanghai 2013









Phil Akashi - Chocolate Beauty
Picture of an anonymous Chinese child taken by Phil Akashi in 2011 in the Municipality of Chongqing, a major city in Southwest China.





Phil Akashi - Center for Fine Arts - Palais des Beaux-Arts 2014 BOZAR
Cookies & Cream, Group Exhibition in the Centre for Fine Arts - Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels 2014