Galerie Richard

Kiyoshi NAKAGAMI - Recent Paintings

Press release

Galerie Richard presents the sixth Kiyoshi Nakagami’s solo exhibition in Paris entitled “Recent Paintings” from March 15 to April 19, 2014. Nakagami is born in Shizuoka in 1949. His work is part of the collections of The National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. He was included in a group exhibition titled “Nihonga Painting, Six Provocative Artists” in Yokohama Museum of Art in 2006. He had a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Kamakura in 2008. The Museum Haus Kasuya in Yokosuka features a new solo show of  his works from January 8th through March 16, 2014.

“As a painter, there is nothing more difficult to represent than light. The ones who can do that are the greatest painters, greatest artists.” – Kiyoshi Nakagami

He is not impressed with his contemporary peers, except James Turrell, whom he assists during his installations in Japan. Like Turrell the subject of Nakagami’s paintings is light. The audience is drawn to focus on the disposal of light in the painting, its density which varies from one painting to the other, and of course its dispersion within the dark space. The light spreads through a series of perfectly sumptuous grades. Below the focal point of light, the light must cross an undefined, vaporous matter. His ability to beautifully reproduce the diffusion of light in a painting is unrivalled.

His first exhibition in New York in 2012 was reviewed for the first time in Artforum by Donald Kuspit : « Accordingly, Nakagami « paints » by laying his acrylic on the canvas, moving it this way and that, and allowing gravity to move the pigment, which he has « enriched » with gold mica. The resultant works _filled with meticulous ripples and evoking cascades of light_bear no trace of the paintbrush. This absence of painterly gesture is also suggestive of Neuman’s work, reminding the means by which he attempted to unencumber the experience of pure color. Likewise, for Nakagami, the removal of the maker’s hand is meant to facilitate meditative contemplation »(1).

Because he considers that human being does not rule the Nature, he allows natural processes to develop in his paintings. These perfectly detailed paintings are made without the use of a paintbrush. « Nakagami does not reproduce the light of the natural world. The light of his paintings exists only in painting. The artist’s awareness of time in the concentrated moment in which light is made manifest is closely associated with the surprise of encountering something ephemeral and sublime »(2). Nakagami does not imitate nature; he allows natural phenomena to be generated on the canvas creating spontaneous orders that we encounter in nature.

Donald Kuspit concludes : « This may explain why Nakagami’s paintings are endlessly fascinating, like all art that seems miraculous because it dwells on miracles, with religious zeal »(1). By  working  on new square canvases for this exhibition with new medium sized canvases, the artist emphasizes the neutrality of the square. A vertical rectangular painting representing a  falling light can easily be interpreted in a religious way. An horizontal painting with light can easily be viewed as a landscape. The square canvas refers more to an experimental field. Kiyoshi as a painter considers first the light as a material that he attempts to represent and to manipulate for an artistic achievement.

 (1) Kuspit, Donald. Kiyoshi Nakagami  – Galerie Richard, Artforum, December 2012, p.278-279

 (2)  Yamanashi , Toshio. On the New Work of Kiyoshi Nakagami : Light from Afar, in catalgue Kiyoshi Nakagami, The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama, p.15


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