Kawagoe City Art Museum, Kawagoe, Japan
Kawagoe City Art Museum is pleased to present an exhibition of new and recent works by Kazumi Nakamura.
Kazumi Nakamura began his career against the backdrop of the Japanese Post-Minimalism painting milieu, which developed concurrently with American and European Neo-Expressionism. His practice consists of several distinct but interrelated bodies of work that reinterpret East Asian motifs and depictions of pictorial space by filtering them through the visual language of American Modernism. Simultaneously, Nakamura counters the dominant discourse of contemporary painting by localizing it in a Japanese vernacular.
This exhibition focuses on recent and new works from three series: A Bird in Its Existence, Broken Hermitage, and Hijiri (Hermit). The Broken Hermitage series has focused on the nature of distraction and social conditions caused by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995. With their ragged, expressive brushstrokes, the diagonal lines seem to fluctuate between three- and two-dimensionality. Similarly, in A Bird in its Existence, begun in the 2000s, he shifted from the diagonal grid to emotional abstraction, employing the semiotic outline of abstract birds to indicate the unstable ambiguity of existence. As the art historian and independent curator Moon Junghee observes, these paintings exhibit “a strong connection to the hieroglyphic imagery of the ancient Eastern world." Hijiri refers to itinerant ascetics who practiced in sacred places before the advent of Buddhism in India and elsewhere. Although Nakamura had sporadically painted Buddhist themes since the mid-1980s, the Hijiri series resulted specifically from the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and relate to his personal loss of family members. In the artist’s words, they transcend personal loss and meditate deeply on the “gravitas of grief and sorrow that embraces all nature.”
Nakamura has exhibited throughout Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia for the past forty years, with solo museum exhibitions including a large-scale retrospective at the National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan (2014); Iwaki City Art Museum, Iwaki City, Japan (2002); and Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Nagano, Japan (1999). His work is featured in numerous institutional collections, including BAT Artventure Collection, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Busan Museum of Art, Busan, South Korea; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; Imago Mundi Collection, Treviso, Italy; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; Rachofsky Collection, Dallas, TX; Reykjavík Art Museum, Reykjavík, Iceland; Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Nagano, Japan; Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota, Japan; and the Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan.