2023 Exhibition [Autumn / Winter]MATSUYAMA Tomokazu: Fictional Landscape
MATSUYAMA Tomokazu, Hello Open Arms, 2023
Private Collection, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 257×216㎝
MATSUYAMA Tomokazu, Cluster 2020, 2020
Private Collection, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 60×60㎝ (set of 33)
MATSUYAMA Tomokazu, People With People, 2021
Collection of Senya & Company Co., Ltd., Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 213.3×426.7㎝
MATSUYAMA Tomokazu, This is What It Feels Like ED.2, 2023
Private Collection, FRP, wood, steel, epoxy, polyurethane, acrylic, plastic and gold leaf, 120×110×110㎝
MATSUYAMA Tomokazu, 20 Dollar Cold Cold Heart, 2019
Private Collection, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 267×172㎝
MATSUYAMA Tomokazu, Wheels of Fortune, 2020
304 steel, 258×400×150cm㎝
MATSUYAMA Tomokazu (1976 -) is a New York-based artist known for blending boldness with delicacy. This unique fusion is evident in his vibrant paintings marked by intricate lines, as well as in the large-scale public art sculptures he creates. Drawing inspiration from a plethora of sources, Matsuyama incorporates elements from traditional Japanese, Chinese, and European paintings, snippets from fashion magazines, everyday consumer products, and recognizable logos. Though these images permeate modern society and might feel familiar, they aren’t typically associated with one another. However, when integrated into Matsuyama’s artwork, they evoke deep-seated memories, as if disparate fragments from the recesses of the mind have converged to form a coherent whole.
Matsuyama’s diverse life experiences have deeply informed and enriched his work. Born in Gifu, an area renowned for its rich nature and historical heritage, he was exposed to West Coast street culture in the United States during his boyhood. Upon returning to Japan, he pursued studies in economics. In his twenties, he initially followed an athletic path before pivoting to design. Throughout his journey, Matsuyama has consistently engaged with the world’s multifaceted diversity, often viewed through the lens of opposites, spanning from traditional culture to contemporary counterculture.
The exhibition, “MATSUYAMA Tomokazu: Fictional Landscape,” showcases Matsuyama’s artistic evolution and sophistication. It places a spotlight on his recent works, produced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and introduces new pieces to the public for the first time. This event in Hirosaki, a city known for embracing new cultures, offers a unique opportunity to see the artist in a fresh perspective.
Photo: Akira Yamada
Born in Gifu Prefecture in 1976, MATSUYAMA Tomokazu now resides and creates in Brooklyn, New York. While he predominantly focuses on paintings, his artistic endeavors also span sculptures and installations. In his work, Matsuyama seamlessly interweaves contrasting elements—like Asia and Europe, the ancient and the contemporary, and the figurative with the abstract. This synthesis is emblematic of his unique cross-cultural experiences and a reflection of the fluid nature of modern society in this information-driven age.
Matsuyama's commitment to the arts extends to large-scale public art projects. Notable works include a mural on the Bowery Wall (New York, USA. 2019), Hanao-San (Shinjuku East Square, Tokyo, 2020), and Wheels of Fortune (The Meiji Jingu Forest Festival of Art in Tokyo, Meiji Jungu, 2020). His recent solo showcases feature the " Accountable Nature" exhibition at the Long Museum (Shanghai, China, 2020; Chongqing, China, 2021).
1. Tomokazu Matsuyama’s Landmark Solo Exhibition: “Fictional Landscape”
This marks fourteen years since Matsuyama, an avid producer consistently expanding his artistic reach, showcased his debut solo exhibition in a New York gallery in 2009. “Fictional Landscape” is not only his inaugural solo exhibition in Japan but also his first in a museum with an expansive exhibition area exceeding 1,200㎡. Pre-COVID-19, Matsuyama collaborated closely with a substantial team in his New York studio. However, the pandemic led him to innovate, resulting in remote collaborations like Cluster 2020 (2020). The exhibition will also spotlight recent pieces, such as Broken Train Pick Me (2020), conceived by Matsuyama in solitude during the pandemic, and People With People (2021), a collaboration piece with the musical duo YUZU.
2. Unveiling New Works and Introducing Pieces to Japan for the First Time
The exhibition will feature 23 artworks debuting in Japan, nine of which are entirely new unveilings, complemented by approximately 30 recent paintings and sculptures. Signature Matsuyama pieces, including intricate paintings derived from diverse image collages and robust stainless-steel sculptures common in public art, will be on display. Additionally, vibrantly colored sculptures—Mother Other and This is What It Feels Like ED.2 (both 2023)—will make their Japanese debut. These are masterpieces where Matsuyama melds ancient artistry, like kangyokugan and kirikane patterns, with modern techniques, overlaying polyurethane on fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP).
3. A Glimpse Behind the Artistic Process
Matsuyama realizes his masterpieces by fusing traditional art studies with his ever-growing image repository. A typical artwork draws inspiration from 10 to 20 varied images, both contemporary and historic, from the East and West. This exhibition offers a rare insight into Matsuyama’s creative journey by showcasing materials and sketches, usually concealed from public view.
About the Exhibition's Title
The Japanese title of the exhibition, “Setsugetsuka no Toki,” translates to “times of snow, moon, and flowers.” This is derived from a poem by Bai Juyi (also known as Bai Letian, 772-846), a notable mid-Tang Dynasty Chinese poet. Throughout his tenure as a government official, Bai Juyi penned verses from various locations, expressing his deep affection for his friend and former subordinate, Yin Xielu, despite their physical distance. His poem beautifully articulates how emotions remain steadfast amidst the changing seasons.
The sentiments expressed in this poem deeply align with Matsuyama’s perspective. Based in New York, a modern city where various cultures and people intertwine, he equally engages with the cultural influences of his roots in Japan and the US. Furthermore, he resonates with the rich legacies of regions like China and Europe, which have significantly shaped the history of visual arts. Matsuyama’s vast artistic engagement spans from high art to both counterculture and pop culture.
The English title, “Fictional Landscape,” draws from a signature series in Matsuyama’s portfolio. It encapsulates the idea of an imaginative, otherworldly realm—a place that feels familiar, yet remains elusive and “somewhere else.”
- Date: 2023.10.27 (FRI) ―2024. 3.17 (SUN)
Closed: Tuesdays (except on Jan. 2)and from Dec. 25, 2023 to Jan. 1, 2024.
Opening hours: 9:00-17:00 (Last admission 30 minutes before closing)
Organizer: Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art
Special cooperation: KOTARO NUKAGA, MATSUYAMA STUDIO
Special Sponsor: Starts Corporation Inc.
Sponsors: OBAYASHI CORPORATION, NTT FACILITIES, INC.
Under the patronage of The To-o Nippo Press, THE DAILY TOHOKU SHIMBUN, THE MUTSU SHIMPO Press, Aomori Broadcasting Corporation, Aomori Television Broadcasting Co., Ltd., Asahi Broadcasting Aomori Co., Ltd., Aomori Fm Broadcasting, FM APPLE WAVE, Hirosaki City Board of Education