From Nirvana to Catastrophe: Matsuzawa Yutaka and his ‘Commune in Imaginary Space’: Curated by Yoshiko Shimada


Ota Fine Arts is pleased to present an exhibition of Yutaka Matsuzawa (1922-2006), known as the founder of Japanese Conceptualism. Titled From Nirvana to Catastrophe: Matsuzawa Yutaka and his 'Commune in Imaginary Space' and curated by Yoshiko Shimada, this exhibition focuses on the period 1969 - 1973, which has been the most active years of Matsuzawa's activities. Reflecting on the exhibition Nirvana (1970), which has been the pioneer of international exhibitions on Conceptualism in Japan. This exhibition traces the formation of Matsuzawa's thoughts and his idea of 'free commune' in a chronological order through nine document and material bodies. Detailed examination of Matsuzawa's lifework into diverse experimental artistic activities has not been carried out yet. Although the materials displayed in this show is only a small part of the extensive resource, it includes selected works from a mail art project, composed of correspondences between Matsuzawa and other Japanese and oversea artists who have been the most active through the 60s and 70s. These materials have rarely been opened to the public since its conception, and this exhibition is a great opportunity to peek into Matsuzawa's art and his era.

[Yutaka Matsuzawa]
Born in Shimosuwa, Nagano prefecture on February 2, 1922, Matsuzawa studied architecture at Waseda University, but turned to poetry and then to visual art. One of his paintings was accepted to Bijutsu Bunka Kyokai (Association of Art and Culture) in 1952. From 1955, he lived in the US for 2 years as a Fulbright scholar. On June 1st 1964, he received a revelation to 'eradicate objects' and decided to create language-based conceptual art. He exhibited and performed extensively both in Japan and abroad on the theme of 'the disappearance of human beings'. He also organized group exhibitions and mail art projects such as 'Nirvana' (Kyoto City Art Museum, 1970) and 'World Uprising' (1971-74). He taught at Bigakko in Tokyo from 1971 to 81. He was invited to the Venice Binennale in1976 and the Sao Paolo Biennale in 1977. In 1988, Matsuzawa began creating works based on 'quantum art theory'. He died in 2006 in Shimosuwa, where he had been based all his life.

Supported by Matsuzawa Yutaka Psi Room Foundation

Installation Views