Kazumi Nakamura


acrylic on cotton
34 3/4 x 26 7/8 inches

A bird that is a ‘non-bird’ should be somehow organic in form. Wings and feathers, for piercing the sky, should be beautiful…For me, a painting of a bird is an envisioning of its ‘existence;’ it is realized and does not differ from a real bird. Even if a painting of a bird is depicted with a nonfigurative style, the appearance is of a ‘bird that is a non-bird.’ … a descending bird, swooping down from a mountaintop, does not conform to our conventional notion of a bird in flight. For a brief moment, it becomes a non-bird; it becomes ‘descent’ itself. – Kazumi Nakamura

Beginning in the 1980s alongside neo-expressionist painters in Japan, the US, and Europe, Tokyo-based Kazumi Nakamura set out to form his own theory of painting that is representational but non-figurative. The paintings in the series A Bird in its Existence, Nakamura’s project since 2004, influence one another and draw imagery from his earlier work. Lyrical brushstrokes suggest bird-like curves, wings, and plumed tails. Here, the diamond pattern references the diagonal grid that became Nakamura’s signature in the 1980s, a pattern inspired by the woven silk that his mother’s family produced. Nakamura was a student of Mono-ha artist Koji Enokura, and he has exhibited his work across East Asia.