Artist Chie Matsui has never failed to impress the world with her creations since she made her debut in the 80s while still studying at art college. It was the time when neo-expressionism was booming globally and ascetic minimalism and logical conceptual art were being taken over by a new painting style, which is characterized by the use of vivid colors and dynamic brush strokes.
In the midst of this transition, Matsui published her early installation works,
which soon brought her into the spotlight. Installation is a form of art that
deals with the construction of spaces; while the goal of painting or carving
is to create a single object, installation is a method of expression by creating
a temporary structure with various different materials. Matsui encountered this
new way of expression and saw its potential mainly through the work of Joseph
Beuys, a German master artist. Majoring in fabric dying, Matsui started her creative
quest by combining dyed textiles with other types of materials and later moved
on to larger scale projects using bricks, water, mirrors and such.
centripetal, her installations, which were structured to reflect personal memories
and experiences on highly symbolic materials, received great acclaim. Matsui,
along with many other talented female artists of her age who were also leading
Japan's art scene, was often featured in art magazines and were called "super
girls." It is no wonder that the public became somewhat over-excited about the
success of those young girls in their search for new ways of artistic expression.
Looking back on those days, however, Matsui admits she was pushing herself too
much because she felt great pressure as she was expected to produce creations
as good as male artists.
In the 90s, Matsui's interest turned to human nature
illustrated in fables. She launched her series titled
LABOR and continued to produce drawings and small objects
in her inevitable attempt to maintain high quality
in her work while releasing herself from being bound
to manly art industry of that time.
At the dawn of the 21st century, Matsui began her visual installation series
"I believe many people would make a connection with Heidi, a children's
story by Johanna Spyri. People may be familiar with the TV animation series,
but it is not so well known that the original book focuses more on adult characters'
personal issues and depicts Heidi simply as the narrator of the story. I realized
that we can find similar examples today among children who are pressured into
acting in a bright and cheerful manner while the adults are overwhelmed with
their problems. Life must be tough for those kids. I started wondering what Heidi
would be like if she had grown up in my age. And that was when I got the idea
for making this series."
Through her series, Matsui attempts to capture a quite universal and contemporary
theme: the inner cry of people under extreme pressure.
Matsui is presenting her installation work as part of an upcoming group exhibition
at Ashiya City Museum of Art and History. Mainly featuring her HEIDI series,
the exhibition will be a great opportunity to experience the world of Matsui's
December 26, 2007
Text by Takafumi Kobuki, a freelance art writer
Born in Osaka, Matsui has held a number of
personal exhibitions since 1985. Her recent exhibitions have
been mainly held at Shinanobashi Gallery and MEM Gallery
(both located in Osaka). Matsui has also participated in
many group exhibitions both in Japan and overseas, including "Art
Now 84 (1984, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art)," "La
Biennale di Venezia (1990, Venice, Italy)," "A
Second Talk; Contemporary Art from Korea and Japan (2002,
The National Museum of Art, Osaka)," and "Yokohama
Triennale 2005 (2005, Yamashita Pier, Yokohama)."
|"What Is the Real
Nature of Being?"
Jan. 12 (Sat.) - Feb. 24 (Sun.), 2008
Closed on Mondays
*Open on Jan. 14 (Mon.) & Feb. 11 (Mon.); closed on Jan. 15 (Tue.) & Feb.
12 (Tue.) instead
10:00 - 17:00 (no entry after 16:30)
Admission: General: 300 yen, College & high school students: 200 yen, Free
for junior high school students and under
Ashiya City Museum of Art and History
12-25 Isecho, Ashiya-shi, Hyogo
Worked as an editor for an information magazine and became a freelancer in 2005.
Writes art-related articles for Kyoto Shimbun, Bijutsu Techo, Pia Kansai, ELLE,
artscape (online) and more.
Personal website: “Katte-ni RECOMMEND”
Personal blog: “Takafumi Kobuki: Art-no Kobujime”