TADAAKI KUWAYAMA (b. 1932)
Tadaaki Kuwayama was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1932. As a student at the Tokyo National University of Fine Art and Music, he studied nihonha, a traditional Japanese style of painting that emphasized ancient Japanese techniques and stylistic elements. After graduating, however, Kuwayama was not interested in pursuing the strict nihonga practice or the contemporary Japanese art at the time. Instead, he immigrated to the United States in 1958 and began developing a unique minimal style. Throughout the 1960s, Kuwayama produced square monochrome works that experimented with industrial materials, removing every indication of the artist’s hand. His work addressed the Minimalist interest in the physical, phenomenological experience of objects while retaining the two-dimensionality of painting.
Kuwayama’s later work continues to probe the experience of perception while incorporating fewer industrial materials and reintroducing traditional fine arts mediums. In the 1990s, Kuwayama began the ongoing series Projects, which comprise works of identical color and dimension, their installation determined by the light and architecture of the gallery space.
Kuwayama has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at venues such as Green Gallery (1965, 1966); Tokyo Gallery (1967); Galerie Bischofberger, Zurich (1967); Museum Folkwang, Essen, West Germany (1974); Institute of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1976); Akira Ikeda Gallery, Nagoya, Japan (1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1988); Nagoya City Art Museum (1989, 2006, 2010); Museum für Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt, Germany (1997); and National Museum of Art, Osaka (2011). His work has been presented in such group exhibitions as Systemic Painting, Guggenheim Museum (1966); Constructivism and the Geometric Tradition, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York (1979), which traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1980), Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute (1981), and Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (1981); and The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860–1989, Guggenheim Museum (2009). His work is also represented in the public collections of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington; Guggenheim Museum, New York City; Nationalgalerie Berlin, Berlin, Germany; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany; and the Luisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humblesbaek, Denmark among many others.