Mies van der Rohe Hause presents Tadaaki Kuwayama! An exhibition

Berlin! #SaveTheDate. With his dictum “less is more”, Mies van der Rohe strongly influenced the art of the 20th century; especially minimalism. The Japanese artist Tadaaki Kuwayama (*1932), who lives in New York establishes a special case in the field of minimalist art. His works are intended to create an intense and subjective experience.

photo by Stefan Meyer
till 03.10.21


With “no statement, just feeling,” according to Kuwayama, he refuses any theoretical appropriation. With his monochrome works, freed from any signature, the artist invites the viewer to experience a wide space of thought and experience. In combination with the contemplative atmosphere of the Mies van der Rohe House, a wonderful coincidence of art and architecture is created. Tadaaki Kuwayama had been on the wish list of the house for many years. A visit in the Bauhaus year, together with his wife Rakuko Naito, then brought the confirmation. The exhibition is curated by Dominik Olbrisch. 

photo by Stefan Meyer

Mies van der Rohe Hauses e.V,
Oberseestraße 60
13053 Berlin

Tadaaki Kuwayama

Born in 1932 in Nagoya, Japan, Tadaaki Kuwayama graduated from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (1956), having studied nihonga, a traditional form of Japanese painting on paper or silk that uses naturally derived pigments and puts extreme emphasis on outlines and tonal modulation. Together with his wife, artist Rakuko Naito, he came to the United States in 1958, at roughly the same time as Japanese artists Yayoi Kusama and Yoko Ono. After settling in New York, Kuwayama eschewed both traditional Japanese painting and Abstract Expressionism, which dominated contemporary art, and instead experimented with highly reductive painting, producing canvases with brightly colored fields of paint in horizontal and vertical compositions, such as Untitled: red and blue (1961). In 1961, his first solo exhibition was held at Green Gallery, an uptown venue known for showing the work of the downtown avant-garde.

Through the 1960s, Kuwayama both refined his painting practice and began to explore three-dimensionality, creating painted wood-and-paper floor pieces and incorporating industrial materials into his work. By 1965, he had fully abandoned all nihonga techniques and began using spray-paint in an effort to make inscrutable works that were free from scratches and imperfections as well as any traces of the artist’s hand. A 1966 work, Untitled: brown, blue, gray, purple, beige, consists of five canvases painted with acrylic spray and divided horizontally and vertically by strips of aluminum. Using hardware-store materials in commercially available colors, they could be hung in any order and, at least theoretically, produced in an infinite number: the number of canvases made was determined by the amount of space available in the gallery. Kuwayama framed the work as a means of addressing a Minimalist interest in perceptual and spatial dimension while retaining the two-dimensionality of painting. Read more at www.guggenheim.org/artwork/artist/tadaaki-kuwayama