Takesada Matsutani

Propagation AA, 1970

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Takesada Matsutani, Propagation AA, 1970

Takesada Matsutani

(Japanese, b. 1937)

Propagation AA, 1970
signed, titled, dated 70 and numbered EA
screenprint on paper
image: 63 by 49 cm.
sheet: 72 by 57 cm.
Artist proof aside from the edition of 40.

Nishinomiya City, Otani Memorial Art Museum, Takesada Matsutani. Currents, 2015 (edition no. unknown)

Private Collection, United States

AUD $ 3,000

Payment over 10 months with Art Money available

Key Points

  • Matsutani was a key member of Japan’s influential Gutai group
  • Propagation AA is a great example of Matsutani’s 1970s hard-edge work
  • Inspired by Ellsworth Kelly’s work at Stanley Hayter’s studio in Paris, he applied the minimalist aesthetic to the dripping shapes of his early work
  • The work is attractively priced compared to the primary gallery prices for comparable works at Hauser & Wirth

In Context

Takesada Matsutani was part of the second wave of Japan’s experimental Gutai group until it disbanded in 1972. Having initially joined the group in 1963, the artist’s early work was inspired by long stints in hospital due to tuberculosis, and more directly by seeing microscope slides of blood that a friend in medical school showed him. Matsutani tried to recreate the look of cells using polyvinyl acetate glue – resulting in strange, flesh- like forms and textures often in the forms of balloons or large drips.

“A truly singular period in the artist’s career, the early 1970s timeframe … highlights Matsutani’s committed exploration of the flattening of shapes, through a frank use of strong colours.”

– Hauser & Wirth

After winning a grant from the French government in 1966, Matsutani moved to Paris where he began working at the famous print-making studio of Stanley William Hayter, Atelier 17 (which had produced prints for artists such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso). Unable to work on his vinyl pieces due to a lack of space, he focussed on working on silkscreens instead. Matsutani’s style changed radically and shifted from the messy look of his earlier glue pieces to a hard-edge minimalism inspired by Ellsworth Kelly – yet as visible in Propagation AA, the abstract shapes still reference the drips in his earlier work. These works were met with acclaim, and in 1972 he was invited to exhibit in the print-making section of the Venice Biennale, followed by numerous prints exhibitions in the United States throughout the 1970s.

“France changed my thinking. In Japan the mentality had been, ‘it is enough to be interesting’. Working with Hayter, I encountered a rationality that I had not experienced before.”

– Takesada Matsutani

More recently his work was included in the Venice Biennale (2017), and was featured in the acclaimed exhibition Gutai: Splendid Playground at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2013. Matsutani is represented by Hauser & Wirth and was subject to a major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2019.

Takesada Matsutani in front of his early vinyl works, 1966

The market

Takesada Matsutani, Propagation Box, 1969, silkscreen on paper, 78 by 56 cm.
Gallery price: USD 4,000 (AUD 5,400)
Hauser & Wirth
Takesada Matsutani, Lamp Pink, 1969, silkscreen on paper, 78 by 56 cm. Ed. 30.
Gallery price: USD 4,000 (AUD 5,400)
Hauser & Wirth
Takesada Matsutani, In the Morning (Green), 1969, silkscreen on paper, 57 by 44 cm.
Gallery price: USD 3,500 (AUD 4,700)
Hauser & Wirth

Takesada Matsutani, Propagation AA, 1970
Installation view at the Otani Memorial Art Museum with Propagation AA, 1970 on the left


Selected solo exhibitions
2020 Hauser & Wirth, Hong Kong
2019 Centre Pompidou, Paris
2018 Japan House, Sao Paolo
2013 Hauser & Wirth, London
2002 Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns
2000 Ōtani Memorial Art Museum, Nishinomiya
1986 Contemporary Art Center, Honolulu
1983 Contemporary Art Center, Osaka
1980 Gallery S-65, Aalst
1976 Gallery Watari, Tokyo
1970 Galerie Lahumière, Paris
1969 Galerie Ariadne, Vienna
1963 Gutai Pinacotheca, Osaka

Selected group exhibitions
2017 La Biennale, Venice
2015 Centre Pompidou, Paris
2013 Guggenheim Museum, New York
2013 San Francisco Art Institute
2012 National Arts Center, Tokyo
2010 National Museum of Art, Osaka
1999 Jeu de Paume, Paris
1977 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
1975 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
1972 Brooklyn Museum, New York
1968 Gutai Pinacotheca, Osaka
1966 Galerie OREZ, The Hague

Selected collections
Centre Pompidou, Paris
Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art Victoria & Albert Museum, London Dallas Museum of Art
Minneapolis Institute of Art Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi
Long Museum, Shanghai

ILEANA at Explore Sydney Contemporary

Walead Beshty, Louise Bourgeois, Dorian Büchi, Michael Craig-Martin, Melissa Gordon, Richard Hamilton, Rachel Howard, Louise Lawler, Tony Lewis, Sol LeWitt, Tim Maguire, Takesada Matsutani, Edda Renouf, Bridget Riley, Peter Schuyff, Stansfield/Hooykaas, Wang Guangyi, Christopher Wool

Presented at Explore Sydney Contemporary (11-21 November 2021)

All artworks © the artist.