Kazuya Sakamoto :IN BLOOM

Kazuya Sakamoto :

2024.1.12 - 2.10

©Kazuya Sakamoto
Press Release

Date: 1-12 (fri.) – 2-10 (sat.), 2024 
Gallery hours: tue. – sat. / 11:00 – 19:00 (closed on sun., mon., and on national holidays)
Opening reception: 1-12 (fri.) 18:00 - 20:00

nca | nichido contemporary art is pleased to present IN BLOOM, a solo exhibition by artist Kazuya Sakamoto.
Plants have been the object of Sakamoto’s work ever since, growing waterweeds as one of his hobbies, he took notice of the similarities that such ecosystems seem to share with human society.
Following the recent relocation of his artistic activity from Nagoya to Yonago, Sakamoto has picked up gardening, a change that, according to the artist, has paved the way toward his new interest in flowers and the survival strategies through which they continue their life cycle leaving seeds after blooming, in contrast with waterweeds that continue to rapidly grow through propagation. Through the cultivation, breeding and observation of flowers, Sakamoto has been using his work to explore the random and inevitable aspects of human life, its lifecycle, and the relation between humankind and nature.
At times Sakamoto’s flowers seem to be the result of the artist’s impromptu, physical behavior; at others they seem to be intentionally embracing the randomness that comes with the painting process, elaborately built one layer after the other. Nevertheless, they represent the fleeting destiny, strategies and resilient nature of life, each manifesting its presence while coexisting in perfect harmony.
The exhibition presents new works made by the artist especially for this occasion.

It has been 10 years since I started to look after a garden. Well, my involvement is quite basic - getting a few people together roughly twice a month, cutting the grass, collecting the fallen leaves and occasionally trimming and pruning the trees with help from professionals - and simple maintenance alone is something I have just mastered.
Plants continue to change following the cycle of seasons. After sprouting, blossoming, and bearing fruits, they are left with a few branches and, while they may look on the verge of decaying, all the organic matter they have dropped on the soil gets absorbed becoming nutrients for new plants to sprout. Caring after a garden has reminded me of something quite obvious, actually, which is how we as humans are too part of a very similar cycle.
Following his recent relocation to Tottori, Kazuya Sakamoto was able to get hold of respectively a wide studio and a garden, and he now spends his time cultivating plants while carrying on his artistic practice. As the artist puts it, his paintings come to life as he sow seeds, plants seedling and observes the wide variety of flowers.
No wonder why his work feels extremely dynamic, very far from a decorative, traditional style, such as the one we observe in Kacho-ga painting (images of birds, flowers and other natural elements), or from still-life representations where flowers are oftentimes arranged in vases. The frequent use of paint splattering, dripping and brushstrokes freely and vigorously vibrating on the surface conveys strength, yet, it embraces the unexpected turns this process takes along the way. Blending on the surface, all the different hues capture that very explosive moment of flowers IN BLOOM. The idea of “movement”, in its literal sense, occupies the chore aspect of this body of work which is overflowing with chaotic energy.
We might say that because Sakamoto developed physical empathy towards plants, through his daily interactions with them, responding to their internal dynamics which are invisible to the eye, he has achieved an expressive language that is far-reaching.
Such a physical inclination can be seen as a useful gift the artist took in from his waterweeds series which he first started in 2013. Sakamoto would continuously observe the aquatic life of these plants, listen to their delicate language, and observe again the changes that would occur in response to his caring.
Charged with a unique sensibility Sakamoto developed through such a practice, the series translates into his work as the creation of ecosystems of intricately interconnected living organisms, micro-organisms and plants, realized in the form of entirely green-gradated screens.
The automatically repeated brushstrokes create motifs that bring to mind how cells propagate, and the material texture given by the layered paint has almost a tactile quality to it that, while bearing witness to Sakamoto’s physicality, it simultaneously impinges on the viewer’s physical sensation.
This quality becomes more tangible in the new floral series. The irregularity of the surface becomes more dramatic and we can catch sight of traces almost as if the color had been applied in circular motions directly with fingers.
The paint, perched shapelessly on the canvas because of its fluidity, shines seductively, tinged with visual sensuality (needless to say, flowers, that come too with a reproductive system, represent a form of existence that has fought for survival).
There, in a world of shapeless, undefined matter, we can catch a glimpse of the artist who experienced reality in those “dreadful things” that can only be perceived through tactile perception.
Sakamoto’s flowers that, come to think of it, remind us of Bataille who took aim at the symbolic interpretation of flowers, possess a tenacious quality that seems to be tirelessly pursuing the true essence of life through the paintings.
Perhaps, to Sakamoto his work, just as his garden, exists simultaneously as an experiment station where the artist can investigate every aspect of life, and as an irreplaceable tool through which sympathizing with and understating the world.

Azumi Akai (Curator at Tottori Prefectural Museum)

Kazuya Sakamoto
Born 1985, Tottori, Japan. Lives and works in Tottori, Japan.
2014 MFA, Contemporary Art, Nagoya University of Art, Aichi
2012 BFA, Painting, Nagoya University of Art, Aichi
2017-18 Selected for the Agency for Cultural Affairs Program of Overseas Study in Taipei
Main solo shows: Spring ephemeral, nca | nichido contemporary art, Tokyo, Japan (2020) / Symbiosis, galerie nichido Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan (2018) / Landscape gardening, Yonago City Museum of Art, Tottori, Japan (2017) / Main group shows: Young Okazaki vol.2, MtK Contemporary Art, Kyoto, Japan (2022) / Next World - Taguchi Art Collection x Iwaki City Art Museum, Iwaki City Art Museum, Iwaki, Japan (2021) / Identity XIII - Je t'aime... moi non plus - A love journey through art - curated by Daisuke Miyatsu -, nca | nichido contemporary art, Tokyo, Japan (2017), Some Like It Witty, Gallery EXIT, Hong-Kong (2014), and others.

©2009 nca | nichido contemporary art. All Rights Reserved.