Tatsuo Kawaguchi "Copperplate Prints From 1963"

Session:2018.12.14 Fri. - 2019.1.26 Sat. 13:00 - 19:00
Opening Reception: 2018.12.14 Fri 18:00-20:00 *Admission free/ Closed on Sun, Mon, Tue and public holidays(Winter holiday 12.23 -1.8)
Venue: SNOW Contemporary

SNOW Contemporary is pleased to present Tatsuo Kawaguchi's solo exhibition Copperplate Prints From 1963 from Friday, December 14th, 2018 through Saturday, January 26th, 2019.

This exhibition will showcase ten copperplate prints that were recently found, created over half a century ago by then-23-year-old Tatsuo Kawaguchi in 1963. 1963 was two years before Kawaguchi formed the Group I, renowned as the earliest stage of the artist's career including performances in which they continuously dug a hole and then filled it back in the riverside of Nagaragawa river, Gifu Prefecture. It was the time when Kawaguchi broadly expanded his expressions that have extended to his artistic practices of today.

The titles of the copperplate prints were Erased Time, A Person, Bud, Mask, Occurrence, Correlation, Time of Life, Obscuration, Floating Substances in the Dark, and Birth from Darkness. Elements such as “time,” “life,” and “the universe” are keywords that have been penetrating throughout the artist’s career till today, which could already be felt from the simple titles given to these work and allow us to perceive the strong determination Kawaguchi had held since the beginning of his artistic career.

Kawaguchi asked himself as below when he found the works after 55 years of time had passed since its creation:
Why did I create these artworks? Perhaps a moment of internal argument suddenly emerged. However, trying to feature a work from 1963 in order to speak of my works created at the age of 23 feels as though I am trying to find a memorandum that had already disappeared, and leaves an irritating feeling of not being able to reach the fundamental cause. The reason could be a quoted from a sentence I wrote in the beginning; it is because “the irreversibility of time overlaps with the irreversibility of facts that occurred in the past.”
(From “About the Copperplate Prints From 1963”)

We cordially would like to welcome you to this exhibition, which would be a precious occasion of showcasing ten copperplate prints that were created in the earliest period of the career of the artist, Tatsuo Kawaguchi.


■ Tatsuo Kawaguchi Artist Statement - Excerpt from “About the Copperplate Prints From 1963”

1.Erased Time
I was looking for my earlier works left in my atelier in which I could find my interest towards time. One of the copperplate prints I created in 1963 was titled Erased Time, which vividly showed my interest towards time already from its title. As it was impossible to draw the time itself, what I had drawn there was an image of time by rendering the image of a clock. Being an existence living in time itself, it seemed as though I was aware of the impossibility of objectifying time itself. I must admit that my expression towards time was still somewhat impoverished then, while at the same time, it embodied one of my earliest interests and endeavours towards time, which also brought be back a nostalgic feeling.

The reason why it brought nostalgia to me was because of the image of the clock. It was the old wall clock that existed in my house since I was born. The clock was a pendulum clock which ticked everyday with a lyrical sound. It was a mechanical clock that moved by the power of a wind-up wheel, and it needed to be wounded up everyday with the small copper key that went inside a small hole. Since the moment the role of winding up the wall clock became mine instead of my father, I felt as though I was giving life to the clock each time I winded it up. I can vividly remember the sound of when would wind up the clock, as well as the sound of its bell when the clock would let us know the time. The bell of the clock rung once when it was one o’clock, and then twelve times when it was twelve o’clock.

The work titled Erased Time had already lost its sound, but we can see that the dial face in which had the function of acknowledging the time was drawn on the right, and the swing of the pendulum that made the clock work was drawn on its left. However, the clock in my memory had its dial face that acknowledged us the time and the swing that made the short and long arm of the clock to move all connected together as one, and was ticking time with the pillar on its back. Why did I separate the pendulum clock and divide them to the left and the right? Thinking back from the fact that I also drew the key that could wind up the clock together with the dial face, perhaps it comes from my memory of the clock stopping in silence when I forgot to wind up the wheel. Or, perhaps I imagined of inserting a special time space that does not exist in the actual seamless time that flows without any cleavages; this means I cut the time, and maybe imagined that the disconnected time was an erased time. Or, did I think of those moments in which a particular flow of time would feel longer or shorter than others, and interpreted such personal flow of time in one’s mind is different from the physical flow of time, and comprehended this disconnection as the disruption of time. Either way, it seems as though the irreversibility of time overlaps with the irreversibility of facts that occurred in the past.

When I found the work Erased Time described in the text above, I also found three other works. All of them were copperplate prints created in 1963, when I was 23. The titles written below the images other than Erased Time were A Person, Bud, and Mask. The moment I reunited with my works and saw those titles, I felt as though I was encountering an unmovable fish in an aquarium, or staring at a rare insect I had captured and kept in a cabinet in the past, or was seeing through an old opaque glass that was slightly foggy after the remnants of time, perhaps because the volume of the time that had past which counted up to 55 years.

* Two month after I wrote this text, six more copperplate prints from 55 years ago were found.


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


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


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," Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Musee 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(Musee 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


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


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