Nakazawa Shinichi (b. 1956)
“16th and 17th century Japanese art was characterized by a unique perception of space. This was not the space created by simple perspective theory, but rather the co-existence of complex and discrete spaces. These multiple spaces did not merely co-exist in parallel, but were synthesized. I call this synthesis of the multiple spaces in art a ‘pluralistic space’. My objective as an artist is to create contemporary works that possess this pluralistic space.”
Shimmering gold foil in geometric abstracts on an ebony black ground is how Nakazawa has chosen to represent ‘pluralistic’ space. Perhaps more familiar to us as the delicately precise use of negative space in Japanese art, Nakazawa’s use of gold foil and contrasting black grounds conjures images of traditional Japanese art, particularly gold backed screens and black and gold lacquer boxes.
Nakazawa’s work recall the aesthetic theories of Tanizaki Junichiro: “Their extravagant use of gold, too, I should imagine, came of understanding how it gleams forth from out of the darkness and reflects the lamplight…gold is not something to be seen in a brilliant light, to be taken in at a single glance; it should be left in the dark, a part here and a part there picked up by a faint light” (Jun’ichiro Tanizaki In Praise of Shadows 1967. p.14.) However, in his original interpretations and use of almost ‘scientific’ geometric shapes, Nakazawa transforms these landscapes into a universal contemporary idiom.
At age 19, Nakazawa taught himself copperplate etching and a decade later was selected as a ‘Promising Young Artist’ at a so-named exhibition at Tokyo’s Isetan department store. From then onwards his career expanded internationally with exhibitions in New York, West Germany, Singapore, Finland, Cairo, Manila and Australia.