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Nakazato, Brusatin

Since 2021, NISO has been organizing exhibitions between London and Paris. The gallery’s program, which focuses on the young international contemporary scene, also includes an annual showcase of overlooked twentieth-century artists. The first exhibition of its kind since the inception of the gallery, ‘Nakazato, Brusatin’ is an intergenerational dialogue bringing together a body of work from 1968-1971 of Japanese artist Hitoshi Nakazato (1936-2010) with a series of works by Colombian artist Daniel Brusatin (b. in 1989).

Curatorial dialogues are at the heart of NISO's programming. This exhibition brings back to the limelight the work of an established and highly relevant yet under-represented artist in a carefully curated dialogue with a young contemporary artist who is particularly sensitive to his work. By anchoring Brusatin’s work to the timeline of art history and bringing Nakazato’s back to the centre of the contemporary scene, the exhibition not only shows the pertinence of these artists but creates a connection between the past, present and future. Exposing thus a timeless quest and oeuvre.

NISO is committed, amongst other interests, to show a keen and informed look at Japanese art of the last 60 years. The first exhibition organized by the gallery in 2021, ‘Komorebi’, was a dialogue between young Japanese ceramicist Yuki Nara, and Daniel Brusatin. The famed essay on Japanese aesthetics, “In Praise of Shadows” by Junichiro Tanizaki, laid the curatorial structure for the exhibition. A confrontational dialogue on aesthetic values between East and West was embodied by the juxtaposition of Nara’s and Brusatin’s work. The gallery maintains close ties with Japan and is proud to collaborate with the Osaka-based Artcourt Gallery.

Hitoshi Nakazato’s Ichinchiani series is a testimony to minimalism, and to challenging the traditionally engrained practices of art. “Why paint? What would a painting that rejected conventional concepts of painting look like?”. Nakazato’s puzzling reflections around traditional art-making were spurred by student turmoil against authoritative figures at Tamabi Art University, where he taught in the late 1960s. At a pivotal moment in his career, he sought to redefine the act of making by introducing into the painting process elements born of Japanese industry and architecture. The sumitsubo, a Japanese line marking tool, was his predominant technique. His characteristic monochromatic works of 1968-1971, which brought him international institutional recognition, are composed entirely of straight lines. Poetic and lyrical, spontaneous yet controlled, the laying of the pigment through snapping the sumitsubo on the surface of the canvas conjures all mark-making characteristics. The excess pigment scattered on the extent of the line provides a spontaneous dotted topography.

With the same subversive energy of trying to redefine painting Brusatin expresses,“ If art is to survive in the collective consciousness, we must integrate craft, industry and poetry. Art cannot exist on the periphery, it must be part of nature and human architecture”. Resonating profoundly with Nakazato’s work, his subtle combination of colour, form and material creates a balance and tension between opposites, between the purity of an idea and the chaos of production, a constant dialogue between pathos and logos. Always striving to come closer to the Gesamtkunstwerk, the all encompassing, global work of art. In this series, the paintings are as much constructions or sculptures as they are paintings, and the installations are conceived as interdisciplinary liaisons. In his work, he uses materials from industry: a beam that held railway tracks, ropes that tied ships to land and pieces of cargo pallets. He combines them with ceramics and traditional elements of fine art. By painting with brushes, blowtorches or ropes, he seeks, like Nakazato, to disrupt practice and create new paths for poetry that link different facets of humanity.