Takesada Matsutani: Glue

  • Jan 28, 2022

In a new feature exploring the physical matter of art-making, Ursula invited filmmaker Lisa Rovner into the Paris studio of artist Takesada Matsutani to respond to a single material used by the artist.

Born in Osaka just before the Second World War, Matsutani was a key member of the ‘second generation’ of the influential post war Japanese art collective, the Gutai Art Association. This innovative group was focused on the merging human and material properties to concretely comprehend abstract space. During this time and in the years since, Matsutani has developed a unique visual language of form and materials.

The artist with his works at the 14th Gutai Art Exhibition, Takashimaya Department Store, Osaka, 1964 © Takesada Matsutani

Takesada Matsutani, Point de Contact-2021-3, 2021 © Takesada Matsutani

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, hairdryers or fans, Matsutani brings the material to life—a principle central to Gutai. In some works, he leaves swollen convex shapes, while in others allows the glue to rupture and wrinkle, exploring the wide range of possible forms and tactile qualities of the substance. ‘The idea was something three dimensional, on the canvas,’ the artist explains. ‘An organic kind of shape.’

Takesada Matsutani’s exhibition of new works, ‘Combine,’ is on view at Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd Street, 3 February – 2 April 2022.

Lisa Rovner is a French American filmmaker based in London. Rovner has collaborated with some of the most internationally respected artists and brands including Pierre Huyghe, Liam Gillick, Sebastien Tellier, Maison Martin Margiela and Acne. Her first feature documentary ‘SISTERS WITH TRANSISTORS’ (2020) follows the story of electronic music’s female pioneers.