Ken Matsubara (Japanese, born 1948), Chaos, 1983, two six-panel folding screens (diptych), ink and color on paper, installation view in Ippodo Gallery New York in March 2022
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Chaos: Ken Matsubara Buddhist Masterwork
September 2, 2023 – March 10, 2024
The Minneapolis Institute of Art brings to its Bell Family Decorative Arts Court a seven-month free exhibition which features contemporary artist Ken Matsubara in the context of Buddhist themes in Japanese painting. This special highlighting of Matsubara's Chaos, created in 1983 during the artist's late twenties, is paired with the legendary Taima Mandala from the 14th century. Despite 600 years of distance between the two masterworks, a timeless Buddhist teaching is revealed as audiences traverse the niga byakudōzu—'White Road between Two Rivers'—out from chaos and into the nirvanic Pure Land shown in the mandala.
Ken Matsubara introduces auditory symbols that evoke the sounds of singing bowls, and motifs derived from the Buddhist tales he learned during his formative years copying artworks at the temple complex near his hometown. Chaos is Matsubara's revelation in which he assembles a scene expressing the suffering of life and path to enlightenment using the techniques in western abstraction he developed under the painter Sankō Inoue during his formal training.
Ippodo Gallery has been representing Ken Matsubara in the USA since 2016 and continues to advocate his masterpieces for admirers worldwide. To celebrate his remarkable career, the gallery will present several works in different styles at their Upper Eastside Gallery and will feature his newest, magnificent byobu screens during Asia Week in March 2024.
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