b. Tokyo, 1957
Noted for the creation of enigmatic worlds in miniature – in a variety of materials – while also for imbuing large-scale projects with an almost mystical presence, Kazu Nakagawa confounds ‘labeling’. Critics writing about his artworks address ‘absence’; ‘matter and nothingness’; ‘ambiguously elegiac’; ‘materiality becomes an imprecise notion’. The ‘reality’ is that Nakagawa’s works embrace and conform to, if such a thing is possible, the Japanese concept of ‘ma’ – the space between, the distance between, the room between or around things.
Nakagawa’s art practice is informed by his fundamental philosophical positions. His materiality (or often, seeming immateriality) is determined by the conceptual underpinning of each work – he will employ as required: wood, metal, concrete, canvas, paint, graphite, paper, fabric – as well as more evanescent materials, shade and sound; the immateriality of his carved calligraphy on the Waiheke Library, delicately concealed or revealed by the changing play of light, was achieved through many months ‘perching on the scaffold with chisel and hammer in the rain, sun and wind through winter.’
Having exhibited extensively, survey exhibitions of Nakagawa’s work have been held at Te Tuhi and The Dowse Art Museum. His work is represented in the Collections of The Dowse Art Museum and Christchurch Art Gallery, and in numerous private collections in Australia, UK, USA, New Zealand and the New Zealand Embassy in Japan.