Takesada Matsutani Work of the Week


It is our pleasure to present our next Work of the Week by Takesada Matsutani.

Matsutani, who lives and works in Paris, was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1937. After becoming a member of the Gutai movement in 1963, he moved to Paris in 1966, following a stipend he received through an art prize. Traversing Japanese and Western post war culture, Matsutani distills these powerful influences into a unique body of work.

In 1962, inspired by the Gutai principle of bringing matter to life, Matsutani begins his experimentation with vinyl adhesive. He discovers the possibilities of applying this novel material, which at that time became available in Japan as a derivative of Elmers glue, by inflating the volumes of glue on the canvas with a straw. The resulting collapsed or burst bubbles opened up new pictorial possibilities at the intersection of painting and sculpture. 

Although Matsutani was never an active practitioner of Zen Buddhism, the philosophy’s call for return to simplicity and awareness of the momentary state was highly influential on his work, resulting in his laborious use of graphite pencil and paper which began in the mid 1970s. 

Our work, titled La Fenêtre from 1997 beautifully captures these two driving forces in Matsutani’s work. The collapsed vinyl bubble on the bottom third of the work reminds us of his continuous formal experimentation from his time with the Gutai group, while the meticulously applied graphite showcases Matsutani’s meditative process. In equal parts La Fenêtre combines the rich Japanese traditions which form the basis of Matsutani’s practice with the influences of his chosen home in Paris. 

Although Matsutani has produced a highly focused and original body of work over the last fifty years, only recently has he received deserved critical acclaim in Europe, culminating in a retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in 2019. We feel privileged to be able to present to you a work by this important artist and we hope to encourage you to explore Matsutani’s fascinating oeuvre. 

Register your interest and contact us at mariechristine@liviefineart.com




Takesada Matsutani
(born 1937 in Osaka, Japan)

La Fenêtre, 1997
PVA glue, graphite, on paper laid on paneled canvas
33 x 23,5 cm
Signed lower right: Matsutani
Titled and dated verso: La Fenêtre 1997



Takesada Matsutani, born 1937 in Osaka Japan, was a member of the second generation of the influential Gutai group. In 1996 he received a grant from the French government and moved to Paris, where he lives and works today.
His work is represented in public institutions such as Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, and has been featured in the important group exhibition Gutai: Splendid Playground at the Guggenheim Museum in 2013. Matsutani has recently been the subject of a major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.