Matsuzawa Yutaka “Begin with Vanishment”

Matsuzawa Yutaka Begin with Vanishment 2014
Installation view at MISA SHIN GALLERY
Photo: Keizo Kioku

Matsuzawa Yutaka Begin with Vanishment 2014
Installation view at MISA SHIN GALLERY
Photo: Keizo Kioku

Matsuzawa Yutaka 松澤 宥
Begin with Vanishment 消滅より始めよ
Date:Thursday, April 24 – Saturday, June 14, 2014


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Download Press release (日本語)


Born in Shimosuwa, Nagano prefecture in 1922, Matsuzawa is the creator of conceptual art in Japan, and is also globally known as a world pioneer in the same field.

Matsuzawa began his career as early as the 1940s creating poems, paintings and three-dimensional work. At midnight on June 1st, 1964, he is visited with a revelation to “get rid of objects.” After three days of deliberating whether he should create art that rejects relying on objects, on June 4th, Matsuzawa decides to follow his epiphany to create art that is based purely on letters and actions. Since then he has consistently created word-based work, emphasizing the rejection of objects, the extinction of humans and anti-civilization.

The late 60s was also a time period when there was a global trend towards creating art that incorporated literature and various philosophies. Paintings and sculptures were rejected, and replaced by the appearance of conceptual art. Matsuzawa’s work was viewed in line with this trend, yet distinguished himself from the mainstream Western approach towards conceptual art, coining his own work as “Kannen Bijutsu (translation:Notion Art).” By relying only on texts and performances as a means of expression, his extreme minimalistic approach embodies a seductiveness and morbid approach towards disappearance. This is expressed and developed in many ways by incorporating concepts such as catastrophe theory, the Philosophies of Mandala of the Two Realms, quantum mechanics, physics and math, and his original vision towards religion and the cosmic universe.

At this exhibition, MISA SHIN GALLERY will present highlights from Matsuzawa’s career spanning over half a century, including drawings, collages created in the late 50s, and his word-based works created post-1964 from “Yutaka Matsuzawa ψBox” 1983 such as “ψDead Body, ψRemains”, “A Picture Caught in a Postcard”, “A Swan Song” and “The Nine Meditations Chamber”. 50 years has passed since Matsuzawa was met by revelation to “get rid of objects”, we would like to begin with vanishment to explore the relationship between Art and Concepts.

Matsuzawa Yutaka
Born in Shimosuwa-machi, Shimosuwa-county, Nagano prefecture, February 2nd, 1922. BA from Waseda University in Architecture from the Department of Technology, 1946. Following his graduation, Matsuzawa returned to his hometown in Shimosuwa, and published a collection of poems called “Immortality of the Earth.” In 1952, he had his first solo exhibition at the Bijutsu Bunka Art Association’s 12th exhibition. In 1955, Matsuzawa studied abroad in the US on a Fulbright scholarship. His presented his next exhibition titled “Spiritualism series” at the Yomiuri Independent Exhibition, in 1958, and annually was invited to present at the same venue until 1963. At midnight on June 1st, 1964, he is met by revelation to “get rid of objects”, and begins creating work as a conceptual artist. Matsuzawa became internationally recognized, after his work is featured in numerous overseas venues such as the Venice Biennale, 1976, and the San Paulo Biennale, 1977. In the 2000s, he has participated in exhibitions held at various venues including the Saito Memorial Kawaguchi Museum of Contemporary Art, the National museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art. Matsuzawa ended his prolific journey at age 84 in his hometown of Shimosuwa. Nagano prefecture, on October 15th, 2006.





松澤 宥

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