Natsuyuki Nakanishi was born in 1935 in Tokyo. He grew up there and attended Tokyo National University of Arts and Music, where he obtained a BFA in oil painting in 1958. Nakanishi's career as an artist began in earnest in 1959 with a highly acclaimed series of paintings entitled Rhyme, and he has continued his work as a painter to the present day. In addition, Nakanishi was a founding member (with Jiro Takamatsu and Genpei Akasegawa) of the experimental group Hi Red Center, which was active from 1962-64. In 1965, he collaborated with the Butoh dancers Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ono, influencing the thinking and practice of contemporary art.

In his artistic investigations, Nakanishi has consistently confronted existential questions relating to the artist's role and his relationship to art-making. While deconstructing formal elements and recomposing them into abstract motifs in his paintings, Nakanishi also takes extensive notes and makes diagrams related to the works to guide himself through his process. When reading his writing, it often seems as if Nakanishi observes his work from a distance. Surreal ideas related to the work are also expressed—in his notes, he describes his works almost as if they come into being of their own volition. For Nakanishi, painting occupies a unique realm, and as an artist, he wanders through this realm, functioning as a mediator between the work and the viewer.

During 1959 and 1960, Nakanishi created a continual series of canvases titled Rhyme. Partly in response to the aesthetics of "gestural" abstraction widely popular in the late 1950s in Japan. Nakanishi rejected improvisational actions and traces of them, favouring a more carefully constructed ground. Layering a thick mixture of materials such as oil paint, enamel, and sand whose chromatic appearance consistently stays in the narrow range of ochre. He repeatedly painted small T-shaped units that are sequenced and aligned with one another on the surface of the canvas as if they begin to "beat" a rhythm in front of the viewer's eyes. It also resembles a map looking from high above in the air.




Natsuyuki Nakanishi: Rhythm of Space-time, Long Museum (West Bund), Shanghai, China
Quiet Dislocations: Notes on Contemporary Art, Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Sakura, Japan
Hi-Red Center: the Documents of Direct Action, Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya; Shoto Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA Natsuyuki Nakanishi: Rhyme, Clothespins Assert Churning Action, Passing Each Other: Receding Purple, Emerging White Spots, Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Sakura, Japan
Iles jamais trouvees(Island Never Found)," Doge’s Palace, Genoa, Italy; Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art, Central Macedonia, Greece; Museum Art of Saint-Etienne Metropole, Saint-Etienne, France
Natsuyuki Nakanishi: Toward Whiteness, Intensity, Presence, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Japanese Art After 1945: Scream Against the Sky, Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Kanazawa, Japan ; Guggenheim Art Museum Soho, New York ; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA
Japon des avant-gardes 1910-1970, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Reconstruction: Avant-Garde Art in Japan 1945-1965, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, UK; Edinburgh Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, UK
Japan: Tradition und Gegenwart (Japan: Tradition and Presence), Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, Germany
The New Japanese Painting and Sculpture, San Francisco Museum of Art, California, USA; Denver Art Museum, Colorado; Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois; Joslyn Art Museum, Nebraska; Columbus Art Gallery and Museum of Art, New York; Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; Milwaukee Art Center, Wiscinsin, USA



The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA / The Japan Foundation, Tokyo, Japan National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan / The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan / Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan / Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Sakura, Japan / National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan / The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama, Japan / The Museum of Modern Art, Otsu, Japan / Oita Art Museum, Oita, Japan / Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, Utsunomiya, Japan / Chiba City Museum of Art, Chiba, Japan / Osaka City Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan / Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, Japan / Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya, Japan / Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto, Kumamoto, Japan / Iwaki City Art Museum, Iwaki, Japan / Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Takamatsu, Japan / Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan


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