Yutaka Kikutake Gallery is pleased to invite two UK-based artists for a series of projects including a residency in Tokyo, an exhibition, and a lecture at Tokyo University of the Arts. Presented following their two-week residency in Tokyo, this hybrid exhibition features works that were created as a result of an ongoing dialogue between these two distinctly unique artists. While conceived through the sharing of their ideas and perspectives, what serves as a key element of this venture are their observations of the city of Tokyo and contemplations of its landscape. This marks Yutaka Kikutake Gallery's first attempt to facilitate an international exchange between artists centered on the consideration of themes that are common to both, such as cultural differences in the understanding of space and sensitivity to nature.
Tomoya Matsuzaki (born in Fukuoka in 1977, currently lives and works in London) is an artist who creates paintings on support mediums made from a water-based resin known as Jesmonite. His unique canvases with a stone-like texture are punctured with a hole, and an abstract pattern is depicted upon their thick surface. Such works, reminiscent of a tabula rasa of sorts, are combined with squared timber to divide the space and create a unique sense of rhythm within the place in which they are presented. Matsuzaki draws links between the genealogy of his own paintings and the perforated rocks scattered across the Cornwall region of England, and the restrained sense of color centering on grey tones with the certain lackluster dullness akin to a typical cloudy British sky. Also comparing his practice to those of British artists active in the first half of the 20th century such as sculptor Barbara Hepworth and painter Paul Nash, Matsuzaki began gathering wild plants and hosting dinner parties last year, which inspired him to further his contemplations of landscapes, and deepen his interest in the various elements, ecosystems, and circulations that constitute them. His delicate gaze towards the environment and the numerous conditions surrounding it has a great influence on his artistic practice, as observed by the fact that the title of the work “The full and the new” derives from the phases of the moon, which changes from a new moon to a full moon, and how it interferes with the ebb and flow of the tide, and even affected the results of his foraging plants along the seaside.
Meanwhile, Anne Hardy (born 1970 in England, currently lives and works in London) who creates large-scale installations that combine light and sound, as well as sculptures and photograms, is also an artist who regards studies of space and urban foraging as part of her creative process. Hardy expresses a profound interest in residues, leftovers, and stranded things as “representing a collective unconscious of the city,” incorporating them variously into her work. Her work is based on research and gathering, and for her 2019 commission for Tate Britain, she conducted fieldwork around the nearby River Thames and transformed the museum’s façade into a monumental installation inspired by old records concerning the winter solstice. One of the works presented in this exhibition is an assemblage piece consisting of masses of soil collected in Tokyo piled onto boards placed upon the floor. The lights hanging from the ceiling flicker repeatedly in sync with a program that processes the live weather data observed in Tokyo. In recent years, Hardy has focused on incorporating urban data into her work. These blinking lights, programmed in correspondence to invisible information such as the weather and the flow of people, visualize the state of the city and its unconscious aspects, instilling the space with emotion.
The title of this exhibition, “Tides,” is a word symbolizing the sensibility that the two artists share through their work. Just as Matsuzaki regards the scenery that appears before him as the result of the environment and its multiple factors, Hardy also perceives the city as that which is like the sea. Within this landscape, the tide ebbs and flows every day, whirlpools emerge, and things that have been discarded wash ashore from time to time. A dialogue between the two exhibiting artists and curator Akiko Miki will be held at Tokyo University of the Arts, focusing on the varying perspectives and approaches to space between different cultures. We hope that this exhibition will serve as an opportunity for viewers to consider things through the perspective of these artist who travel back and forth between London and Tokyo.