Kazuyuki Takezaki: Japanese Landscape Painter Dies aged 48

Kazuyuki Takezaki, a painter known for his ethereal, blurred landscapes that capture the impermanence of the natural world, died

Kazuyuki Takezaki, a painter known for his ethereal, blurred landscapes that capture the impermanence of the natural world, died at 48 following a heart attack. Jeffrey Rosen, the cofounder of Takezaki’s Tokyo-based gallery, Misako & Rosen, confirmed his death. The gallery is now working to establish an estate for the artist.

Takezaki passed away just weeks after the conclusion of his first major solo exhibition in New York at 47 Canal Gallery. This exhibition showcased recent paintings of trees, mountains, and greenery observed in Marugame, the coastal city in Japan where he resided. These paintings, characterized by their abstract forms, reflect a natural world threatened by industrial encroachment. “Communicating a profound yet fleeting sense of place, Takezaki’s windows onto this constantly shifting environment are also reflections on time, memory, and the porous overlaps between subject and object,” wrote Andrew Maerkle in an essay accompanying the 47 Canal show.

Though Takezaki had limited exposure in the United States, he had an extensive exhibition history in Japan, including solo shows at the Kochi Museum of Art and Misako & Rosen. Born in Kochi, Japan, in 1976, Takezaki often drew inspiration from his hometown. “Such a combination, that of the natural and artificial within this town so full of possibility and prompts my imagination,” he wrote for a 2008 Misako & Rosen exhibition.

Takezaki graduated from Kochi University in 1999 and subsequently moved to Tokyo to develop his artistic practice. Early in his career, his work was featured in group exhibitions at prominent galleries such as New York’s Yvon Lambert and Tokyo’s Ota Fine Arts. However, the launch of his gallery, Takefloor, within his small Tokyo apartment solidified his place in the Japanese art scene.

Jeffrey Rosen credited Takefloor with being a catalyst for experimental art in Japan, inspiring him to cofound Misako & Rosen. In 2015, he told Artspace that Takezaki’s gallery “gave everybody of our generation the courage to start opening up our own space.”

After spending time in Tokyo, Takezaki returned to Kochi and moved to Marugame. In Marugame, he began creating his “Board / Table” paintings. For these works, Takezaki would attach a canvas to a board and travel beyond the town, using an oil stick to capture the transient beauty of the landscape. These paintings started as figural representations and often dissolved into muted, abstract forms. “At dusk,” Takezaki once remarked, “I often see the town horizontally divided into upper and lower halves by transparent and opaque colour.”

Kazuyuki Takezaki’s work reminds us of nature’s fleeting beauty, and his paintings show his ability to capture the ephemeral essence of the world around him.

Top Photo: Kazuyuki Takezaki  2024 47 Canal St COURTESY MISAKO & ROSEN

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