“Increasingly Expressionistic Work Necessitates Fortified Form that Disciplines”

Kazumi Nakamura

March 8, 2016 – April 2, 2016
Gallery Hours :11:00 – 19:00
Gallery Closed:
Sunday, Monday, Public Holiday
Reception:March 8, 2016 18:00 – 20:00

Scroll Painting 45, 2015
Oil and chalk on cotton canvas
1620 x 1305 mm

Visual Dissonance – Expressionism – Formality

I would like to briefly share some thoughts on my second solo exhibition at Kaikai Kiki Gallery.
My first solo exhibition at the gallery in September 2014 was centered around works with a diagonal grid motif. This time, in addition to the diagonal grid Scroll Painting series, I would like to present works from other, expressionistic series that I have been working on up to now, such as Mourning for the Dead, A Bird in its Existence, Y Shape, Hijiri, and others.

Take a glance at this exhibition and one will notice the distinctive contrast between the diagonal grid works and the other series. The inevitable dissonance that arises as a result, a sort of visual creak, is fully intentional on my part.

For me, visual dissonance simultaneously signifies the meaning and the meaninglessness of the world. Although enough has been said about this already, the world is disorder itself, disorder that is given a barely discernible form. We have grown numb to this disorder and have fallen into the illusion that such a form is the eternal, unshakable truth. For us who live under such an illusion, disorder is the optimal environment to thrive in; indeed, it is the perfect instance of order.

Might this be just another one of my typical, ironic phrases, full of elusiveness?
According to the Zen priest Dōgen, the world is but a painting, and a painting is the world itself (Wahin (Painted Cakes) in Shōbōgenzō (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye)). I understand this statement to speak a type of truth, full of insights.
Seen from this perspective, the dissonance of this exhibition matches that of the world itself, as well as its inconsistency and meaninglessness. Perhaps people may not agree. Yet it also a fact that I am here, with my sentiments, creating my paintings with a brush in hand, in this world full of dissonance.

When you emphasize the expressionistic approach to painting, your work will likely end up bearing aspects of incoherence and destructiveness; it will be anarchy itself, chaos incarnate…

As my paintings advocate dissonance, chaos, and nonsense, such might in fact seem to be their appropriate appearance. Nevertheless, I apply control over my work in terms of its form. I endow, or try to endow, my paintings with what can be described as acts of expressionistic violence, with means that allow them to be formally interpreted. In fact, as the work becomes increasingly expressionistic, it becomes increasingly necessary yet challenging to continue fortifying the form.

The world is full of violence. It is filled with unforeseeable situations. And, according to Dōgen’s words, a painting is the world; the world is a painting.

Form restricts, robs freedom, and limits unlimited possibilities. Yet, a kind of freedom also exists that can only come into being through the function of these restrictions. My paintings search for the form that leads them towards such freedom; without abandoning the intrinsic potential of expressionist painting, they aim to explore an entirely new, different direction.

Kazumi Nakamura