In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Matsuzawa Yutaka's The Whole Works, 1961–1971

[End Page 245]


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Plate 1.

Matsuzawa Yutaka

A Blank Painting for All Living and Non-Living Beings

[Postcard Painting I-01]

1967

Printed postcard; 14.8 x 10 cm

[End Page 247]


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Plate 2.

Matsuzawa Yutaka

This Is a Painting That Can Be Owned by All Humans

[Postcard Painting I-09]

1968

Printed postcard; 14.8 x 10 cm

[End Page 249]


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Plate 3.

Matsuzawa Yutaka

Vanishings/Natural Series 5/12

[Postcard Painting II-05]

1971

Blueprint on postcard; 14.8 x 10 cm

[End Page 251]


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Plate 4.

Matsuzawa Yutaka

Vanishings/Natural Series 12/12

[Postcard Painting II-12]

1971

Blueprint on postcard; 14.8 x 10 cm

[End Page 253]

  • Introduction
  • Reiko Tomii (bio)

Born in 1922, Matsuzawa Yutaka was among the pioneers of global conceptualism, along with his Japanese peers, which included Yoko Ono, On Kawara, Shūsaku Arakawa, and Akasegawa Genpei. His iteration of conceptualism was unique in that its cosmic scope was nurtured by his extensive studies of the humanities and sciences, including non-Zen Buddhism, contemporary physics, and parapsychology. His early theory and practice, dating from the late 1950s to the early 1960s, centered on the enigmatic concept of Psi. In his initial conception, Psi derived from the Psi power of parapsychology and later acquired an added layer of significance drawn from contemporary physics, eventually signifying the human psyche. By 1964, when he had the legendary Revelation,1 his principle was codified as the "vanishing of matter" (busshitsu shōmetsu) with the singular methodology of mobilizing the viewer's ability for kannen (meditative visualization and idea), which informed the core of his conceptualism to his death in 2006.

Assembled in 1971 by the artist himself, Matsuzawa's portfolio of The Whole Works 1961–71 was first brought to Art & Project in Amsterdam in 1971, together with a checklist in English and other works on paper by himself and a few of his fellow artists. They were all transferred to The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2007 as part of the gallery's gift to the museum. Catalogued as Art & Project/Depot VBVR Gift 1064.2007, each work is searchable by collection ID numbers (e.g., 1064.2007.1, 1064.2007.2, and so on), on the museum's website (www.moma.org). The portfolio constitutes an almost complete representation of the artist's text-based works during this crucial period in the development of his conceptualism from his theory and practice of Psi to his art of kannen. (Among a handful of notable exclusions is his 1964 handwritten flier that immediately followed his Revelation to announce the birth of Non-Sensory Painting.) The first forty items are also included in Psi Box, a compilation he made in 1969, in a planned edition of 30, enclosed in a hollowed-out blank book. It was produced on the occasion of his solo exhibition at Aoki Gallery, Tokyo that year. [End Page 254]

Five elements of The Whole Works 1961–71 portfolio are translated for this issue. The first encompasses the title of each work in the set. Matsuzawa's work titles are often as enigmatic and poetic as his works, requiring special attention in translation. The museum database uses the English titles the artist devised, as reflected in the accompanying checklist. In this issue, the retranslated titles are presented with the original Japanese, where available, with the WW (standing for "Whole Works") numbers that I devised. With each work, "WW" is followed by the number that Matsuzawa assigned to it and penciled in on it, usually in the top right of the recto side. This number corresponds to the last component of MoMA's collection ID number. The same numbers are also found on the works compiled in the Psi Box set.

My retranslation is based on my research that has clarified the evolution and substance of Matsuzawa's conceptualism.2 Some of the original English titles fall into the category of clear mistranslation. Take, for example, WW11...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2329-9770
Print ISSN
0913-4700
Pages
pp. 245-256
Launched on MUSE
2019-07-02
Open Access
No
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