Kazuya Sakai. Painting from the Spirit of Music

MACBA - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires
Jul 12, 2013 3:34PM


Curator: Rodrigo Alonso

August 10, 2013 - September 29, 2013

MACBA - Museum of Contemporary Art in Buenos Aires presents the temporary exhibition Kazuya Sakai. Painting from the Spirit of Music, with a selection of paintings from ten different collections including the work Homage to Kōrin. Series II. No. 11 (Red Waves in Matsushima), part of the permanent collection of the museum.

Kazuya Sakai was born in Buenos Aires to a Japanese family. In the early fifties, he began to take an interest in painting, a field in which he had no formal training. During those years he began working on the dissemination of Japanese culture in Buenos Aires by giving lectures, teaching and doing translations. Sakai's early works partake of geometric abstraction akin to local Concrete artists. He slowly begins to incorporate calligraphic signs in his works, related to the training received in Japan and ascribe to the informalist movement.

His stay in New York in the early sixties marks a change in his production, influenced by pop art, post-painterly abstraction, and oriental philosophies and cultures. But the main influence arises from contact with contemporary music, that would stay with him throughout his life. In the early seventies, Sakai moved to Mexico City, where he began to develop a rigorous geometric aesthetic. By 1973, the artist takes the work of Japanese master Ogata Kōrin (1658-1716), and from his study and interpretation begins to incorporate in his painting wavy and parallel bands that travel over large planes of saturated and bright colors.

Curated by Rodrigo Alonso, the exhibition focuses on a unique period of the Argentine-Japanese artist marked by tributes to contemporary and avant-garde musicians. The work done during the seventies is based on issues and procedures close to experimental music, especially jazz.

According to Alonso, “Many of these paintings made use of strikingly precise combinations of flat vibrant colors between parallel lines that cross through the canvases at right angles and then take circular turns, altering their paths. These paintings bear no trace of Sakai’s Informalist past; there are no blotches, textures or brushstrokes, but rather smooth and rigidly structured surfaces with no sign whatsoever of subjectivity.”

The curator opens a dialog that asks questions on the very neat type of representation that Sakai has chosen to address musical genres characterized by indeterminacy and spontaneity. "As in jazz, where the musician improvises on the basis of a rhythmic structure- however minimal it may be-, the asymmetry of the circles on the solid and constant plane of the background suggest the controlled spontaneity, at once free and restricted, of that musical genre."

In his curatorial essay, Rodrigo Alonso elaborates these ideas, establishing links with sound, philosophical and artistic universes that nourished the artist. The bilingual text is included in the catalog accompanying the reproductions of the exhibited works.

Kazuya Sakai. Painting from the Spirit of Music is the project that will accompany the celebrations for the first anniversary of the existence of MACBA, on September 1st 2013.

Dialogued tours (in Spanish)

Wednesdays to Mondays at 17:00

Activities included with the entrance

Gallery talk (in Spanish) with curator Rodrigo Alonso

Saturday, September 7th at 5 p.m.

Activity included with the entrance

Tours for groups

Booking and inquiries to [email protected]

More information www.macba.com.ar


Monday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Tuesday Closed

Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7.30 p.m.

Last entry 30 minutes before closing

Contact information:

[email protected]

MACBA - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires