I believe that all humans have uchuiden kioku ‘cosmic inherent memory’, my work is an exploration of the mysteries of my own uchuiden.
Hisao Hanafusa (b. 1937) was born in Miyakonojō, a city at the southernmost tip of Japan. After graduating from the Kyoto University of Fine Arts, he moved to New York City in 1963, where he became an active participant in the postwar art scene. Most notably, his work was featured in four group exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum in the 70s and 80s. Hanafusa is both an innovative contemporary artist and a superb craftsman of traditional Japanese carpentry. His work combines influences from contemporary Western culture with classical Eastern philosophy, which provides a unique perspective for the understanding of postwar American art.
Hanafusa’s paintings can be roughly divided into two groups: his tube paintings from the late twentieth century, and his process paintings, which he has worked on since the 2000s. Works from the first group, which combine steel tubes and paint on canvas, share similar visual strategies with the Minimalists, for both were a form of resistance and a response to the dominant modes of artmaking of the time; for Hanafusa, this included the conventional Japanese aesthetic standards that he received from his academic training in Japan, in addition to the prevailing values of high Modernismhe encountered after arriving in the States.
The process paintings further develop certain elements from Hanafusa’s first period, and form a mystical visual language rooted in his ecosophic worldview. Concepts such as time, materiality, and process are foregrounded through the use of custom-made silver aluminum paint, Hanafusa’s preferred material. This second group includes two series: Cosmic Inherent Memory (Uchuiden Kioku) and Fifth Dimension. Hanafusa believes that all human beings are interconnected through uchuiden, or their shared, latent memories of the cosmos, a concept that serves as the spiritual foundation of his Cosmic Inherent Memory series. The Fifth Dimension series continues his exploration of the materiality of his chosen material (aluminum paint), and the transcendental qualities it possesses. Expanding beyond the categories of causality, existence, and the principles of logic, Hanafusa’s idea of the fifth dimension departs from the three dimensions of space, and the fourth dimension of time; it probes into a mysterious, ineffable territory in order to interrogate the belief of transcendentalism.
While Hanafusa’s tube paintings can be characterized by their visual restraint, a similarity shared with Mono-ha and Minimalism, the later works highlight the materiality of paint and the natural processes of change and transformation it undergoes. The throughline that connects these two periods of artistic practice is Hanafusa’s continued challenge to the boundary of painting.
Hanafusa’s artworks can be found in the collections of several world-renowned art institutions, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His carpentry practice has also been featured in the New York Times and New York Magazine.
|1961||Graduated from Kyoto University of Fine Arts, Kyoto, Japan|
|2019||A Unified Horizon, UNIX Gallery, New York, NY, USA|
|2018||5th Dimension, The New York University Institute of Fine Arts, New York, NY, U.S.A|
|2017||5th Dimension, Stephen Globus Fine Arts, New York, NY, U.S.A|
|5th Dimension, Koki Arts, Tokyo, Japan|
|2012||Uchuiden Kioku, Koki Arts, Tokyo, Japan|
|2011||Uchuiden, Gary Snyder Project Space, New York, NY, U.S.A.|
|1994||Brenda Hall Gallery, San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.|
|1992||Connecticut College, New London, CT, USA|
|1990||A.B.C. Gallery, Osaka, Japan|
|Twenty-Five Years in America, Susan Cooper Gallery, Woodstock, NY, U.S.A|
|1988||Hanafusa:Paintings, The Kendall Gallery, New York, NY, USA|
|1978||Hanafusa Hisao Solo Exhibition, Green Collection, Tokyo, Japan|
|1977||Hunterdon Art Center,Hunterdon, NJ, USA|
|Hanafusa Hisao Sakuhinten, Nuage: Environment for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.|
|1976||Kagoshima Art Museum, Kagoshima, Japan|
|1975||Hisao Hanafusa, Lamagna Gallery, New York, NY, USA|
|1969||Stable Gallery, New York, NY, U.S.A.|
|Hanafusa, Pace College, New York, NY, U.S.A.|
|1960||Kyoto-fu Gallery, Kyoto, Japan|
|2019||UNIX Gallery, San Francisco, CA, USA|
|2017 - 2018||Art on Paper, Koki Arts, Osaka, Japan, New York, NY, U.S.A.|
|2017||Uchuiden, 5th Dimension, Hammond Museum, North Salem, NY, U.S.A.|
|2011 - 2012||Pre-Opening Exhibition, Koki Arts, Tokyo, Japan|
|2010||1960’S REVISITED, David Richard Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM, U.S.A.|
|2006||Crosscurrents in Contemporary Art, The Lobby Gallery, New York, NY, USA|
|1995||Collection Show, Bergen Museum, Bergen, NJ, U.S.A.|
|1993||Five Artists Show, Tenri Gallery, New York, NY, USA|
|1987||Five Artists Show, Gallery International 52, New York, NY, USA|
Interview | Hisao Hanafusa: “I Do It with Nature!”Author: Dr. Tingting Xu October 21, 2022Hisao Hanafusa (center) and His Son Zui (left) Xu: I’m glad that we are doing this interview for your solo exhibition. Let’s make a comprehensive...
Press | “Hisao Hanafusa: Nothing but Recollection” has been selected as the top five picks of NYC-Arts this week: April 30 – May 6August 8, 2021Fu Qiumeng Fine Art’s exhibition “Hisao Hanafusa: Nothing but Recollection” has been selected as the top five picks of NYC-Arts this week. Other Selected Exhibitions：...
Lecture | The Making of a Japanese Tea House in New YorkYoshitsugu Nagano in conversation with Hisao Hanafusa 18 Nov 2022Hisao Hanafusa, a contemporary artist and a superb craftsman of traditional Japanese carpentry, and Yoshitsugu Nagano, a tea master, will be in conversation. Join us...
Hisao Hanafusa: Nothing but RecollectionScreening Event 19 Jun 2021Screening Event: Building Without Nails: The Genius of Japanese Carpentry As our current exhibition Hisao Hanafusa | Nothing but Recollection comes to an end, we...
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Virtual Tour | Hisao Hanafusa: Borrowing Nature‘s Powers.October 28, 2022HISAO HANAFUSA: BORROWING NATURE’S POWERS CURATED BY DR. TINGTING XU “Power borrowing,” or jieli in early China thought, homographic to chakuriki in Japanese, is a...
Hisao Hanafusa X Brioni in 2018Brioni and Hisao Hanafusa Championing Sustainable Design February 21, 2019IN 2018, Brioni DEBUTED a selection of the Japanese artist’s carpentry throughout its Milan store, sealed with a co-curated window display. Hanafusa’s work uses an...