Tomoya Matsuzaki


January 11 - February 8, 2020
11:00 - 19:00

Opening Reception with the artist : January 11 (Sat.) 18:00 - 20:00

Yutaka Kikutake Gallery is pleased to present “TORINUKE,” a solo exhibition with Tomoya Matsuzaki from January 11 to February 8, 2020. The exhibition marks the artist’s first solo presentation in Tokyo.


Matsuzaki’s paintings are depicted on thick slabs of plaster that have been shaped and molded by the artist’s own hand. Matsuzaki, who is interested in “visually expressing the rhythms and their conditions that remain hidden in space,” produces work through overlaying both conscious and subconscious brushstrokes, and improvised movements. Nevertheless, due to the rhythms of space never being fixed and in place contrary to the intentions of the artist, the work in itself manifest as places in which two contradicting worlds coexist.

Paintings are worlds that possess a certain depth, and thus what could be described as painterly space is something that indeed exists. On the one hand, they could be regarded as a physical mass consisting of plaster and paint. Matsuzaki selects irregularly shaped plaster slabs as his support medium, and further drills holes into it in order to manipulate space and matter that are both multidimensional elements. Through such means, how does he manage to create paintings while achieving a sense of harmony between the two? Such could be regarded as the very core aspect of Matsuzaki’s endeavor.

The title of the exhibition, “TORINUKE,” is the name given by Matsuzaki to the holes in the plaster. For instance, in the way that Barnett Newman* had called the vertical lines extending across his paintings as “zips” (a term not only not used in reference to clothing fasteners but also postal codes), the name Matsuzaki gives to this endeavor conveys to viewers his intention of introducing a different kind of narrative into the world of the work. While sounding similar to the Japanese words “Toori-nuke” (to pass through) or “Tobi-nuke” (to jump through), the world “TORINUKE” which Matsuzaki employs as his title, brings to mind a bird's nest box with a round hole serving as its entrance, or holes through which something unclear referred as a “TORI” passes through. They present themselves like doorway to paintings that are open to various poetic interpretations, enabling viewers to imagine some form of unknown space (the essence of painting) in the realm that lies beyond.


*Barnett Newman (1905~1970) An American painter recognized as one of the leading figures of Abstract Expressionism. He is known for his unique style of placing vertical lines onto large, flat colored canvases.


Tomoya Matsuzaki was born in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan in 1977. He moved to the U.K in 1997, completing his BA at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2002, followed by an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2004. He currently lives and works in London.

In 2018 his work was short-listed for the John Moores Painting Prize, a public painting competition and exhibition priding a history of over 60 years in the U.K, with former prize recipients including Peter Blake, David Hockey, and Peter Doig. In addition to producing his own work, he has been involved in a wide range of activities such as self-curating exhibitions and launching project spaces from his perspective as an artist. His recent exhibitions include, “Crossing” (Hagiwara Projects / 2019), “A creak in the stair” (SIXSECOND, / 2018), and “Odd Metre” (White Conduit Projects / 2017).

Since moving to the U.K in 1997, Tomoya Matsuzaki has continued to live and work in London. As well as creating work, he places significance on curating from his perspective as an artist, thus holding exhibitions that bring focus to the production process of the work.

In White Deer (2010), he exhibited his works by erecting walls inside the small apartment he lived in at the time.


“White Deer” (Installation View)


In 2011 he presented “Makura.” The venue for the exhibition was a warehouse that belonged to a clothes’ wholesaler, which he had been able to rent in exchange for painting their store sign. The title “Makura” derives from the eponymous term that is used to refer to the prelude in Rakugo. Before going on to tell the anecdote, the Rakugo performer gives a short introduction that would serve to relax and lighten up the atmosphere of the audience, or engage in small talk related to the main narrative. In his exhibition, Matsuzaki had drawn similarities between the act of “Makura” in Rakugo that naturally leads the audience into the world of the anecdote, and that of the artist’s production process.

In 2012 he held the exhibition, “The Chameleon’s Eye” in a project space in Berlin. He visited the studios of various artists and engaged in conversations with them, ultimately selecting participants from London and Berlin while placing emphasis on the production process of their works. A number of events were organized during the exhibition including a slide talk by participating artist Angus Mill, and a sampling session of bread eaten in Alaska where Mill had frequently visited.

In 2013 he took part in a two-month residency at Tokyo Wonder Site to engage in research, having received high acclaim for his practice thus far.

Tomoya Matsuzaki "Untitled (TORINUKE)", 2019
40 x 30 cm
Oil, Charcoal and Copper on Plaster Slab

Tomoya Matsuzaki "Untitled", 2019
49.5 x 53 cm
Oil and Charcoal on Plaster Slab