ARARIO GALLERY is pleased to announce its participation in Frieze New York 2018. We will showcase a solo presentation of Keiji Uematsu (b.1947, Kobe, Japan) at the Spotlight. As a key figure of Japanese conceptual art with nearly 50 years of experience, Uematsu has identified and developed a philosophical connection between body and object, object and space. As he once stated, “My desire is to create a work in which the lack of a single element will cause the entire structure, the invisible existence of things and their relationships, to collapse like a cosmos.” With the focus of exploring visible and invisible relationships, the artist is presenting his radical conceptual creations through photographs, drawings, installations, video, and performance.
The gallery's Spotlight presentation will highlight selected photographs from the 1970s, a set of drawings, and installation work. For the artist’s oeuvre, photograph can be the most significant media to present his idea. Particularly, the works from the 1970's to early 80’s are the key works that is rooted in the “act of seeing,” integrating the relationship between the idea of ‘seeing’ and ‘acting’ between humans and nature (or objects). The works begin with the corporeal experience of space through physical gesture, which is then documented through visual medium. These works demonstrate the artist’s early interest in force, such as gravity, attraction, and centrifugal force, as the artist’s body becomes a horizontal structure that is pulled down by gravity (gravity affects standing figure on direction of y-axis), or a body that props up matter (wood) that is being pulled down by gravity.
In Uematsu’s "Measuring" (2018/1975) and "Hand-Grasp I" (2016/1976), the artist’s visual play with “shadow” leads us to understand his own vocabulary of “act of seeing.” In many of the series, the shadow is considered as a tool of “measure,” “grasp,” and “look” and is often used as his main concept. Furthermore, the “shadow” made by certain physical acts with materials such as nail and paper not only depicts the different reactions to the body, material, and nature, but also evokes Uematsu’s thoughts on how to connect visible objects with the invisible world.
Comprising of 23 drawings with installation work, "Situation-Glass/Wood/Stone"(2018/1980) highlights Uematsu’s innovative expertise as a “sculptor.” Since a drawing is a vivid representation before the realization of a three-dimensional art work , each work portrays various imagination to manage diverse materials (such as wood, cloth, iron, strings, and stone) in a limited space by emphasizing on the natural forces and its relations. Presented at International Cultureel Centrum,(I.C.C), Antwerpen and Cultuur-en ontmoetingscentrum De Warande, Turnhout, Belgium in 1980, "Situation-Glass/Wood/Stone" will be showcased again at the stand. Based on the drawing in 1980, the work depicts the great stability between the contrasting materials while maintaining the forces of “gravity.” As Tsukasa Ikegami (curator of Otani Memorial Art Museum, Japan) stressed about his sculptural expression, Uematsu’s installation work also attempts to provide a dramatic experiences through the creation of this certain kind of tension.
Keiji Uematsu graduated from the department of Fine Arts, Kobe University in 1960, and moved to Dusseldorf, Germany in 1975. Following the year, he become the very first Japanese artist showcasing his works at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, and rapidly participated in exhibitions through Europe and Japan. Uematsu has held solo exhibitions at numerous art institutions including Invisible Force and Seeing, Kunstlerverein Malkasten (Dusseldorf, Germany, 2016); Invisible Force, ARARIO GALLERY (Seoul/Cheonan, Korea, 2015); The Garden of Time, Otani Memorial Art Museum (Nishinomiya, Japan, 2006); Eyes under physical consideration, photographs, video and films, 1972-2003, Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art (Fukuoka, Japan, 2003); It's possible-Skulpturen und Zeichnungen, Siegburg Stadtmuseum (Siegburg, Germany, 1994); and Installation Axis-Latitude-Longitude, P.S.1 (New York, USA, 1980). Selected group exhibitions include The National Museum of Art (Osaka, Japan, 2018); Museum of Fine Art, Houston (Houston, USA, 2015); Meisterwerke der Kunsthalle Bremen (Weserburg, Germany, 2009); and Japanese Pavilion, XLIII Esposizione internazionale d’Arte, La Biennale di Venezia (Venice, Italy, 1988). His works are in the collection of the Hyougo Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan; The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, France; Moderna Musset, Stockholm, Sweden; Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA; Busan Museum of Art, Busan, Korea; Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA among many others.