Fossil of Language, Yuzo Nakano
Kala Gallery is excited to present a retrospective exhibition Fossil of Language, featuring works by Yuzo Nakano, Artistic Director Emeritus and Co-founder of Kala Art Institute. The exhibition showcases Nakano’s work from the 1970s to the present, and celebrates his vision and contributions to Kala’s creative community and to the Bay Area art scene.
Yuzo Nakano is a graduate of Tenri University and Tokyo Gendai Art Institute, Tokyo, Japan. He studied printmaking with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in Paris where he met Archana Horsting and together they founded Kala Art Institute in 1974. His work has been exhibited in commercial and public galleries throughout the world including the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco, where his work is part of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts. In 2014, he received a Bay Area Visionaries award from Southern Graphics International Conference.
Nakano’s life itself is a journey of art. In his statement he describes his experience of traveling the world in the late 1960s and the impact that had on creating an international artist community. He has had a profound influence on future generations of artists and artist communities.
“I attended a large collection of Picasso’s etchings exhibited in Tokyo in the late 1960s. The profound beauty in black and white inspired me to make my own etchings. I looked for an artists’ etching workshop, but I found none. After searching for months, I learned of Atelier 17 in Paris. In 1970, I left Yokohama for Vladivostok, then rode the Trans-Siberian Railway to Moscow, then went to Paris via Vienna, a journey of languages, peoples, colors, sounds, rhythms, landscapes of emptiness and density, and with enduring influence on my art.”
By making his art Nakano pursues three basic human desires: reproducing one’s experiences, recording (storing) them, and transmitting them to other people. These three goals animate his life. Through building Kala’s community, he and Archana created a space for the artists to share artmaking equipment, exchange ideas, be in dialogue with one another, and experiment with technology, new media, and different techniques. They modeled how to work across disciplines and created a space that to this day nourishes creative power. Nakano’s work traverses diverse media, including painting, printmaking, mixed media, music composition, multimedia performance, and digital media.
In Nakano’s own words: “my artistic activities physically extend my own abstract concepts of place, a location in space and time. Each work of art provides instantiation, a reproduction of my experience, stored for a moment, for communication to others. Simultaneously, it produces its own unique experiential data that feed back to me, informing and influencing the abstract concepts that guide future works.”
In 2009, a fire in Nakano’s live work space severely injured him, especially his arms and hands. However, he continued to produce his work using digital devices. After 10 years of rehabilitation and practice, he finally became able to hold a brush again. “The explorations continue.“