A natural culmination of his life-long investigation into the malleability and enduring power of materials, the exhibition at Hauser & Wirth reflects the evolution of the artist’s desire to materialize time and acknowledge the repetition and fluidity of everyday life.
Osaka-born, Paris-based artist Takesada Matsutani has developed his own distinct visual language, uniting organic materials and avant-garde aesthetics, for more than six decades. Organized with Olivier Renaud-Clément, ‘Combine’ features Matsutani’s most recent large-scale works that bring together the bulbous, surreal and suggestive forms created from vinyl glue as well as a selection of Matsutani’s earlier works, allowing visitors to trace the powerful evolution of the artist’s meditative and methodical practice, which remains loyal to the philosophy of Gutai.
‘Who decides if it’s good or bad? Me, then the public, or history? History decides.’ In a new feature exploring at the physical matter of art-making, Ursula magazine invited filmmaker Lisa Rovner into the Paris studio of artist Takesada Matsutani to respond to a single material used by the artist.
Matsutani’s oeuvre has been defined by his experimentation with unexpected materials and unusual techniques in pursuit of highly original visual effects. Inspired by the plastic quality of vinyl glue, the artist began working with this material in 1961 – when it first became widely available in Japan – and has gone on to master it, transforming this commonplace substance into something magical that straddles the line between painting and sculpture.
By applying the glue to canvas, letting it partially dry to form a skin and then manipulating it with air blown through a straw, or with hairdryers and fans, Matsutani brings the material to life – a principle central to Gutai. In some works, he has left swollen convex shapes, while in others he has allowed the glue to rupture and wrinkle, exploring the wide range of possible forms and tactile qualities of the substance.
Systematically blending styles together, he has incorporated bright color planes, as in ‘Point de contact-2021.8’ (2021), and shaped canvases, like in the circular ‘Germination’ (2021), into this new body of work. The works in ‘Combine’ come together to convey the reciprocity between pure gesture, raw material, and spirit that embodies Matsutani’s exceptional oeuvre.
From the early 1960s until the 1970s Matsutani was a key member of the ‘second generation’ of the influential post war Japanese art collective, the Gutai Art Association. Over five decades Matsutani has developed a unique visual language of form and materials. As part of the Gutai group, Matsutani experimented with vinyl glue, using fans and his own breath to manipulate the substance, creating bulbous and sensuous forms reminiscent of human curves and features.
On view now through 2 April 2022 at Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd Street.