Kazuyuki Takezaki, Star of the Japanese Art Scene, Dies at 48

Kazuyuki Takezaki, Star of the Japanese Art Scene, Dies at 48

Kazuyuki Takezaki, a painter whose blurry, washed-out landscapes made him a closely watched artist of Japan’s art scene, has died at 48 after a heart attack. Jeffrey Rosen, cofounder of Takezaki’s Tokyo-based representative Misako & Rosen, confirmed the artist’s death and said his gallery was working to establish an estate for Takezaki.

Takezaki died just weeks after the closure of his first major New York solo exhibition, at 47 Canal gallery. That show featured recent paintings of trees, mountains, greenery, and more that he spotted in Marugame, the seaside city in Japan where he was based.

Related Articles

Kazuyuki Takezaki, Star of the Japanese Art Scene, Dies at 48

These paintings, with their forms that melt into abstraction, attest to a natural world that is slipping away, given that manmade industrial interventions now pose a significant threat to the area around Marugame. “Communicating a profound yet fleeting sense of place, Takezaki’s windows onto this constantly shifting environment are also reflections on time, memory, and the porous overlaps between subject and object,” Andrew Maerkle wrote in an essay accompanying the 47 Canal show.

The 47 Canal show was one of the few exhibitions Takezaki had held in the US. In Japan, he had built a significant resume, with solo shows held at the Kochi Museum of Art and Misako & Rosen.

He was born in Kochi, Japan, in 1976, and his birthplace would continue to loom large over his practice. “Such a combination, that of the natural and artificial within this town so full of possibility and prompts my imagination,” he wrote in an exhibition text for a 2008 Misako & Rosen exhibition.

Takezaki went on to attend Kochi University. Then, upon graduation in 1999, he relocated to Tokyo, where he focused on building out his artistic practice.

Early on, Takezaki’s art appeared in group shows held by blue-chip galleries, such as New York’s Yvon Lambert and Tokyo’s Ota Fine Arts. But it was a gallery of Takezaki’s making that helped earn his place in the Japanese scene: Takefloor, which he launched within his small Tokyo apartment.

An abstracted painting of a landscape.

Kazuyuki Takezaki, Board / Table, 2023.

Courtesy Misako & Rosen, Tokyo, and 47 Canal, New York

Jeffrey Rosen, Takezaki’s dealer, credited Takefloor with acting as a catalyst for experimental art in the Japanese art scene. Rosen credited Takefloor with inspiring him to open Misako & Rosen, telling Artspace in 2015 that Takezaki’s gallery “gave everybody of our generation the courage to start opening up our own space.”

After working in Tokyo for a period, Takezaki returned to Kochi, then moved to Marugame. In the latter city, he began making his “Board / Table” paintings, for which he would attach a canvas to a board, then drive beyond the city with it. In view of mountains and trees, he would depict what he saw in oil stick, working quickly in an attempt to make permanent all this nature in flux over the course of several days. Some of these works appeared this year at 47 Canal and in 2023 at Milwaukee’s Green Gallery, in his first US solo show.

Though they started out figural, these pieces quickly dissolved into blobs of muted color. “At dusk,” Takezaki once remarked, “I often see the town horizontally divided into upper and lower halves by transparent and opaque color.”

‘The Devil’s Bath,’ Coming Soon to Shudder Previous post ‘The Devil’s Bath,’ Coming Soon to Shudder
Viral Nation Partners with Wind Sun Sky Entertainment on a Multi-Content Deal with Content Creators The McCartys Next post Viral Nation Partners with Wind Sun Sky Entertainment on a Multi-Content Deal with Content Creators The McCartys