Keiji Usami Exhibition

Komaba Museum

poster for Keiji Usami Exhibition
[Image: Keiji Usami "Kizuna" (1977) Oil, canvas 369.0 x 479.4 Photo of the painting hanging circa 1977]

This event has ended.

*Komaba Museum is temporarily closed from April 28 (Wed) until June 20 (Sun).
*The exhibition period has been shortened. (Originally 2021/4/28–6/27).

Keiji Usami (1940-2012) is one of the leading painters in postwar Japan. After graduating from high school, he decided to become a painter and attracted attention with his first solo exhibition at Minami Gallery in 1963, where he developed paintings using four human figures taken from news photos of the 1965 Watts Riots. In his later years, he worked on the ‘Deluge’ series, which focuses on the kinetic energy of braking. He is also known for works such as using laser beams and combining six profiles.

This exhibition, though small in scale, is an attempt to look back at the entirety of Usami’s activities over the years. The exhibition will include an overview of paintings from the major periods, as well as sculptures. In addition to the reproduced images of ‘Kizuna’, he will also recreate works using laser beams. One of the themes of the exhibition is to examine the issue of re-creation in contemporary art by displaying these works together with Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even’ (1980) from the Komaba Museum collection.

Usami’s ‘Kizuna’ had been hanging in the University of Tokyo’s Central Cafeteria since 1977, but it was lost due to inadvertent disposal in the course of renovation work in 2017. In order to prevent such a mistake from happening again, the University of Tokyo held a symposium on ‘Kizuna’ in 2018, while at the same time promoting the appropriate conservation and management of cultural assets on campus, and considering the activities of Mr. Usami and the state of cultural assets.



from June 21, 2021 to August 29, 2021
By appointment only.


Keiji Usami



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