Kazumi Nakamura
Solo Exhibition

September 5, 2014 – October 2, 2014
GALLERY HOURS :11:00 – 19:00
RECEPTION:September 5, 2014 18:00〜20:00

Message From Takashi Murakami

Like many artists of his generation, Kazumi Nakamura began his career in the 80’s under the strong influence of post-war American abstract expressionism.

While he studied the abstract paintings of Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, he managed to avoid the pitfalls of mere imitation and made the style his own with works that possess both a Japanese originality and universal qualities. He also took interest in the depiction of space in traditional East Asian paintings, such as Chinese landscape paintings and Korean folk paintings, as well as the symbolic and representative function of forms.

One telling example of this tendency is his acrobatic reinterpreting, through the theories of Western Modernism, of the work of the flat Nihonga painter Heihachiro Fukuda, whose style resides somewhere between design-like patterns and realistic depiction. Nakamura achieves this by continually extracting simple motifs and repeating them according to strict compositional rules in order to dominate the flat painting surface.

After 20 active and prominent years as an abstract painter with the backing of the leading Japanese art institution of the day, the Sezon Art Museum, Nakamura then disappeared from the center stage and entered a ten year plus period of relative silence, a fact that is not completely unrelated to the Japanese contemporary art world’s narrow-minded pursuit of the latest trends.

Despite such head winds, he has, in this silent period, continued to produce paintings with more vigor than ever. In spring 2014, a large-scale retrospective of his work was held at The National Art Center, Tokyo, and the time is ripe for reevaluation of his oeuvre. And with the publishing of an accompanying comprehensive catalog the depth and strength of Nakamura’s art will no doubt spread its appeal outside of Japan, especially within abstract painting circles.

Right now, the Japanese contemporary art scene is dominated by trends which offer easy answers. Especially for young students entering university with the strong will to become painters, we can say that we have entered a dark age. For those of you out there who feel that you have not found the profound, high minded art world you were looking for, you will surely find an outlet for your frustration in the nearly impenetrable complexity of Nakamura’s theories. As an artist who created his own singular point on the historical arc of pure abstract painting, I hope that you will witness Nakamura’s vitality and feel for yourself the toughness of spirit found in his will to put his ideas into practice, again and again, and channel that energy into a fresh hope for the future possibilities of art.

Takashi Murakami

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