Tatsuo Kawaguchi  “Vertical Time, or Stairway Time”

photo : Sadamu Saito 2015

SNOW Contemporary is pleased to announce Tatsuo Kawaguchi solo exhibition from March 2 to March 17, 2015.

Tatsuo Kawaguchi has been one of Japan’s leading artists in our time, who has made and exhibited his works energetically since 1960s, worked at the cutting edge until now and received appreciations from home and aboard.

Kawaguchi has constantly explored a relation between objects and objects, or objects and human beings. This relation is where concepts of time, lives, energy and other things which have limitless possibilities lie, which are invisible. By making these relations in themselves exist in his works, Kawaguchi shows vividly these concepts which are difficult to visualize. Kawaguchi says “art is an adventure of spirit” and His works inspire your senses and invite you to the new world of imagination.

In this exhibition, he will approach the concept of time in itself through using stairs as medium while reconsidering the concept of time which has been frequently focused on since “Land and Sea”, exhibited for the first time in Tokyo Biennale, 1970.


session:2015/5/2(Sat) – 17(Sun) 12:00 – 19:00 *closed on Mondays
*5/2(Sat) [opens until 20:00]
artist talk:17:00~18:00
opening reception:18:00 – 20:00

venue:SNOW Contemporary(XYZ collective) / 2-30-20 1F, Setagaya, Tsurumaki, Tokyo

*This exhibition will take place concurrently with Tatsuo Kawaguchi “Manuscript Paper, in the Book” (NADiff a/p/a/r/t, April 29 - May 31).
*Tatsuo Kawaguchi's monograph “Vertical Time, or Stairway Time” will also be published on the occasion of this exhibition.

representing works

Excerpt from Tatsuo Kawaguchi "Vertical Time, or Stairway Time" (December 14th, 2014)

started writing about relationship between stairways and art, but no one knows at all whether any relation between stairways and art exist. I am not only interested in understanding stairways with its actual function of going up and down, but also would like to understand it as a sculpture, or even more broadly, as a figurative manner of art which I believe has some point to say. Obviously, I am not simply reconsidering the concept of Ready-Made here.

When you go up and down a stairway, the weight of the person moves, but we also need to remember that our sights move at the same time here. When we normally walk on a flat road, our sight moves horizontally, but going up and down hills or stairways would make our sights go through a vertical move. Moving horizontally one meter would normally result as a one meter move of sight - therefore, a one meter vertical move should accordingly shift our sights vertically also. Do horizontal and vertical sight movements simply differentiate within the manner of movement change and sight change. Such could be true in a way. However, when we speak of horizontal movements and vertical movements, I feel there is a slight difference within its relationship with the ground. A Horizontal move has a parallel relationship with the ground, however a vertical move would mean being closer or further from the ground. Also, when we think of the relationship between the ground, a horizontal move would have a horizontal time move. If so, would it be that a vertical movement would contain stairway time, such as vertical time. Likewise, I believe stairways are a perfect motif/device upon considering slight changes. Leaving its function of going up and down, a stairway could also be a sculpture to reconsider our minds, and more broadly enhance itself as art. Or perhaps, create one enabling itself as art.

photo : Keizo Kioku


1940 born in Kobe, Japan
1962 Studied at Tama University of Fine Art, Tokyo. Graduated with B.F.A.
1965 Organized Group “I” in Kobe.
1983 Associate Professor of Art at the University of Tsukuba, Institute of Art and Design.(professor in 1991)
2003 Emeritus Professor of Art at the University of Tsukuba, Institute of Art and Design.
         Professor of the Graduate School of Kyoto University of Art and Design. 2004 Professor Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts.
current professor of Kanazawa College of Art

◇major solo exhibition
1981 "Tatsuo Kawaguchi," Art Front Gallery, Tokyo.
1984 "Tatsuo Kawaguchi," Kwan-Hoon Gallery, Seoul.
         "Blue," Gatodo Gallery Takeshiba, Tokyo.
1986 "Series Today's Artist-Tatsuo Kawaguchi," Osaka Contemporary Art Center, Osaka.
1989 "Series Today's Artist-Tatsuo Kawaguchi," Osaka Contemporary Art Center, Osaka.
1990 "Today's Artist -V-'90 Tatsuo Kawaguchi," The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura.
1991 "Relation-Plant," Yokota Shigeru Gallery, Tokyo.
1997 "Relation-Tatsuo Kawaguchi," Chiba City Museum of Art, Chiba.
1998 "Kawaguchi Tatsuo 1990-1998:Sealed Time," Art Tower Mito, Ibaraki.
         "Sight Breathing/Tatsuo Kawaguchi:Dialogue with the Unseen," Iwaki City Art Museum, Fukushima.
1999 "Tatsuo Kawaguchi:Relation-Kyoto," Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, Kyoto.
2000 "Relation-Seed/Life," Yokota Shigeru Gallery, Tokyo.
2003 "Earth/Water/Plant," HillsaideForum, Tokyo.
         "Japan Contemporary Art - Kawaguchi Tatsuo," Busan Museum of Art, Korea.
2004 "Relation-Flottage of Time," Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya.
2005 "Time within Time," Aomori Contemporary Art Center, Aomori.
         "Relation-Book," Yokota Shigeru Gallery, Tokyo
2007 "Tatsuo Kawaguchi:The Invisible and The Visible," Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art / Nagoya City Art Museum
2008 "Positions towards Infinity;Works of Tatsuo Kawaguchi in 1970s," Utsunomiya Museum of Art, Tochigi.
           "see saw seen 1973," Yokota Shigeru Gallery, Tokyo.
         "DARK BOX 2008," Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya.
2009 "Kawaguchi Tatsuo:Language,Time,Life," The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.
2010 "Kawaguchi Tatsuo:The Spiral Time," KAKE Museum of Art, Okayama.
2011 "November 2011 Tatsuo Kawaguchi," Yokota Shigeru Gallery, Tokyo.
2012 "Let There Be Light! Tatsuo Kawaguchi:World after 3/11," Iwaki City Art Museum, Fukushima.
2013   Shigeru Yokota Gallery, Tokyo
2014 Gallery Monma, Sapporo

◇major group exhibition
1965 "1st Group "i" Exhibition," Kobe International Gallery.
         Group "i") "Independent Art Festival," by the Nagara River, Gifu Prefecture.
1970 "Between Man and Matter-The 10th International Art Exhibition of Japan(Tokyo Biennale 1970) ,"Tokyo Metropolitan Art Gallery.
1973 "8e Biennale de Paris," Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris.
         "12 Bienal de Sao Paulo," Brazil.
1986 "Japon des Avant Gardes," Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
1989 "Magiciens de la terre," Centre Georges Pompidou(Musée national d'art moderne), La Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris.
1994 "Japanese Art after 1945:Screan against the sky," Guggenheim Museum Soho,New York / San Francisco Museum of ModernArt / Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Gardens.
2000 "Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2000," Echigo-Tsumari, Niigata.
2002 "Oita Contemporary Art Exhibition 2002," Oita City Museum of Art
         "Power of Art," Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art.
2003 "Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2003," Echigo-Tsumari, Niigata.
2004 "Remarking Modernism in Japan 1900-2000," The University Art Museum-Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music / Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.
         “Traces:Body and Idea in Contemporary Art," The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto / The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.;
         "Group "i"," Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art.
2005 "Age of Tokyo Metropolitan Art Gallery:1926-1970," Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.
2007 "Welcome to the Art World," The Museum of Modeern Art, Toyama.
         "Shape of Water," The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki.
2009 “Niigata Water and Land Art Festival 2009," Saito Residence, Niigata.
         "Aqua Metropolis Osaka 2009," Osaka City.
         "Contemporary Art is just Easy as Pie, "Art Tower Mito, Ibaraki.
         "Close your Eyes ...and visualize what you see,"The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki.
2010 "the Setouchi International Art Festival 2010," Shodoshima, Kagawa.
         "Okayama Art Spanning Thousand Years," The Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art.
2011 "This is not a book," Urawa Art Museum, Saitama.
2012 "Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2012," Echigo-Tsumari, Niigata.
2013 The Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki

◇public art
1973 Tokiwa Park, Utsunomiya
1980 Sculpture City Kobe
1994  Faret Tachikawa, Tokyo
2000 Matsudaimachi, Nigata
2003  Snow -Land Agrarian Culture Center, Matsudai, Nigata
2005 Aomori Contemporary Art Centre

◇major award
1974  The First Iue Culture Prize
2008 The 15 th Japanese Cultural Art Development Award