Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Takesada Matsutani - A Matrix + Subodh Gupta - What does the vessel contain, that the river does not


Takesada Matsutani - A Matrix

Curated by Midori Nishizawa

Takesada Matsutani

Hauser & Wirth is proud to present 'Takesada Matsutani. A Matrix', curated by Midori Nishizawa and organised with Olivier Renaud- Clement. This will be the gallery's first solo show with Osaka-born, Paris-based artist, Takesada Matsutani and also marks the first time his works will be shown in the UK. 'A Matrix' features never before seen paintings from Matsutani's early career, as well as recent organic abstractions in vinyl glue and graphite. In addition, the exhibition will include a performance of Matsutani's 'Stream, London, Hauser & Wirth'.

From the early sixties to the early seventies, Matsutani was a key member of the 'second generation' of the Gutai Art Association (1954 – 1972), Japan's innovative and influential art collective of the post-war era. One of the most important Japanese artists working today, Matsutani's paintings and performances from throughout his practice demonstrate the ethos of Gutai, translated into an artistic language that is uniquely his own.


In the 1960s, Matsutani began experimenting with vinyl glue, a material that first entered into mass production in Japan following World War II. With paintings such as 'Work-62', on view to the public for the first time in 'A Matrix', Matsutani deposited the glue onto his canvases and allowed it to run down the surface. Matsutani recalls 'The glue began to drip and as it dried, stalactites formed, which looked like the udders of a cow'.


Inspired by the shapes of blood samples he had observed, Matsutani developed this technique further, using hairdryers, fans and his own breath to create bulbous forms reminiscent of the curves of the human body. Paintings such as 'Work-63' exemplify these early experimentations with vinyl glue, a material that continues to fascinate the artist to this day.


In 1966, Matsutani moved to Paris and began working at William Hayter's renowned print-making studio, Atelier 17. When the Gutai Art Association disbanded in 1972, Matsutani was able to transition from the artistic style of his Gutai period into a radical yet consistent new body of work, informed in part by his experience at Atelier 17, in which he expressed a greater depth of understanding of pictorial space and composition. Matsutani's later paintings bring together the artist's signature media, vinyl glue, with graphite. In a marked difference from the raw rendering of his early works, Matsutani carefully controls the glue as it moves across his canvases, making or deflating pockets of air and creating new ridges, wrinkles and crevices as the adhesive hardens. Matsutani then covers the surface in methodical, almost meditative, graphite lines.


The shapes created resemble the unbridled energy of a crashing wave or the inside of a seed preparing to germinate, whilst the graphite reflects light, teasing out hints of texture, depth and volume.


'Stream-10, 1984 – 2013, London', one of Matsutani's largest works, is a 10-metre sheet of paper which the artist covers in a blanket of graphite, leaving just one thin white line coursing through the middle of the paper. Matsutani then completes the work by throwing turpentine over the edge of the dense surface, quickly dissolving the graphite in a tremendous surge of energy and an act of cathartic liberation.


During the exhibition's opening, Matsutani will perform 'Stream, London, Hauser & Wirth'. In the centre of the gallery, a bag filled with water is suspended above a white piece of paper held down by a large stone. Matsutani will pierce small holes in the bag, allowing a slow and steady trickle of water to drip down on to the stone as he moves a traditional Sumi stick of rich black ink – used in traditional Chinese calligraphy – repetitively across the stone's surface. 


As the water drips over the ink-stained rock, Matsutani's constant back and forth motion pushes the ink in a spray on to the paper. The stone and paper will remain throughout the exhibition as a document of the performance.


Takesada Matsutani was born in Osaka, Japan in 1937. He began exhibiting with the Gutai Art Association in 1960 and officially joined the group in 1963. In 1966, he received a grant from the French government after winning first prize in the 1st Mainichi Art Competition, and subsequently moved to Paris, France where he continues to live and work today.


Works by Matsutani are currently on view in the major survey exhibition, 'Gutai: Splendid Playground' at the Guggenheim Museum, New York NY until 8 May 2013. Matsutani's paintings were also featured in the recent group exhibition at Hauser & Wirth New York, 'A Visual Essay on Gutai at 32 East 69th Street' (2012). Matsutani is included in the collections of many public institutions including Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris, France; Tokyo Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; and the Ashiya City Museum of Art, Ashiya, Japan. 'Takesada Matsutani. A Matrix', will be published on occasion of the exhibition at Hauser & Wirth. Featuring rare archival photographs, an interview with the artist by Mizusawa Tsutomu and Inaniwa Sawako, and texts by Kate van Houten, Midori Nishizawa and Ming Tiampo, curator of 'Gutai: Splendid Playground', the book will be available in June 2013. In addition, Hauser & Wirth will host an artist talk with Matsutani in conversation with Tiampo on Saturday 18 May.


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Subodh Gupta - What does the vessel contain, that the river does not


Following its critically-acclaimed presentation at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Subodh Gupta's sculpture 'What does the vessel contain, that the river does not' will be on view for the first time outside India at Hauser & Wirth's Savile Row gallery. Through his use of found, commonplace objects, the New Delhi-based artist explores cultural dislocation prevalent in an era of shifting powers, as well as personal histories. 'What does the vessel contain, that the river does not' evokes the conflicting feelings of belonging and displacement, movement and stability, and explores the liminal space between these states of being.


Inspired by the work of the 13th century Persian poet, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, 'What does the vessel contain, that the river does not' is a traditional fishing boat from Kerala, India that measures over 20 metres and straddles the entire stretch of the gallery. The boat is filled from bow to stern with chairs, beds, window frames, fishing nets, plastic jars, cans, an old radio, cooking pots and pans, suitcases and a bicycle.


The ancient Sufi philosophy embedded in Rūmī's poetry speaks eloquently about the idea of the microcosm – the containing of an entire universe within the human soul. With this large-scale work, Gupta too creates a microcosm containing one person's entire existence, bundled together and crammed into a vessel which appears as if it is about to set sail. For the artist, this boat ceases to be just a simple mode of transportation, but has evolved into an extension of the greater paradigm of survival, sustenance and livelihood.


Subodh Gupta was born in 1964 in Khagaul, India and now lives and works in New Delhi. Gupta's works are featured in major international private and institutional collections and he has been the focus of numerous shows worldwide. 


Recent solo exhibitions include 'Line of Control', Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, India (2012); Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finland (2011); 'A glass of water', Hauser & Wirth New York NY (2011); 'Et tu, Duchamp?', KÖR am Kunsthalle Wien project space Karlsplatz, Vienna, Austria (2011); 'Take off your shoes and wash your hands', Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland (2010); and 'Subodh Gupta. Faith Matters', Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine (2010). 'Spirit Eaters' is currently on view at Kunstmuseum Thun in Switzerland until 28 April 2013. Gupta's works will be included in the group exhibition 'Trade Routes' at Hauser & Wirth's Piccadilly gallery from 3 May to 27 July 2013 and he will present a solo exhibition at CAC Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Malaga, Spain in July 2013. A major survey show of Gupta's works will open at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India in January 2014.


Opening: Friday 17 May 6 – 8 pm


Hauser & Wirth - Savile Row

23 Savile Row, London

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm

Free Admission

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