Open: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm

2 Savile Row, W1S 3PA, London, United Kingdom
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm


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Katsumi Nakai: Unfolding

Luxembourg + Co., London

Tue 10 Oct 2023 to Sat 9 Dec 2023

2 Savile Row, W1S 3PA Katsumi Nakai: Unfolding

Mon-Fri 10am-5pm

Artist: Katsumi Nakai

Private view: Tuesday 10 October, 6pm-8pm

Luxembourg + Co., London, presents an exhibition of works by the Japanese artist Katsumi Nakai (1927-2013) in its London space on 2 Savile Row, as well as a second display of Nakai’s work at Frieze Masters (11-15 October).

Few artists in the history of modern art have taken upon themselves the task of exploring the magical potential of hinges as seriously and extensively as Katsumi Nakai. Born in 1927 in the town of Hirakata, Japan, Nakai belongs to a generation of artists that experienced the trauma of the Second World War during their formative years as young adults training in art. In effect, his desire to travel in the aftermath of the War and explore other cultures was a direct result of this experience and it led him to forge a unique artistic vocabulary rooted in the idea of “opening-up”.

Nakai was 37 when he first arrived in Milan, the city in which he would spend the most prolific decades of his career (between 1964 and 1996). Although he never acquired fluent Italian, it did not take him long to become a notable member of the city’s art scene, particularly identified with the cohort of the vibrant Galleria del Naviglio, alongside artists such as Nobuya Abe, Agostino Bonalumi, Enrico Castellani and Lucio Fontana. Initially working in expressive abstract style, by the mid 1960s Nakai developped a unique approach to art making that relied on cutting and assembling wooden panels using hinges to create paintings of exceptional complexity. These often appear at first as simple monochromatic squares, but once opened they come into life as colourful three-dimensional entities, both playful and ominous, familiar and surprising.

In parallel to the exhibition in the main space, a second display titled From the Square will be presented in the adjacent gallery room exploring works by five modern and post-war artists that challenge painting’s physical limitations as a rectangular surface. With works by Hans Arp, Lucio Fontana, Kazimir Malevich, Kurt Schwitters and Günther Uecker.

Katsumi Naki: Unfolding will be accompanied by a new publication including an extensive essay by art historian Brandon Taylor on the life and work of Nakai.

all images © the gallery and the artist(s)

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