PEOPLEText: Ilaria Peretti

I met Masahiro Suzuki in his studio, in the basement of a contemporary art gallery of Marseille, that he shares with other artists. As we were going down the stairs, it didn’t take long for me to understand which was his corner. An intense fragrance of plants, fermented flowers, herbs, vegetation reached my nose. Masahiro is a Japanese artist who left Japan 12 years ago. His life brought him in the south of France after a long nomadic travel to a place to another. He defines himself a “transcultural nomad”, term that totally embodies the meaning of his researches and his production. Masahiro studied in Tokyo, Dresden, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille. In the past few years he participated to a residency program at Fondation Vasarely, exhibited at FRAC PACA, at the 62nd Salon de Montrouge and recently participated to a collective exhibition at Vidéochroniques in Marseille.

© Masahiro Suzuki

How did the natural withdrawals that you use as artistic material influence and still influence your expressive vocabulary?

Natural elements have always influenced me. In this moment, for example, I use plants to create different shades of pigments to use for my paintings. These natural colours extremely modify my approach to painting and form the basis of it. Actually, I am really fascinated by the complexity of nature, that is why in parallel I make researches on stones. From the hardest one to the most powdery and fragile. The contrast, the extremities that already exist in nature, is the essence of my work. I combine hardness and malleability, stones and flowers. The material and substances in all their forms.

Pflanzliche Aschen (series : Vegetable ashes)
 Plate of melted glass, plants of Kasel-Golzig, collected cadavres of flies in the studio of Beate Bolender. 24×11.5×5 cm, 2018, CreativQuartier – Spektrale 8 in Luckau © Masahiro Suzuki

Could you please tell us about your personal approach to nature, which are the sensations you feel in it and which are the fundamental questions that you make yourself?

I think and I question about the notion of time. It’s easy to perceive that flowers are deciduous, because the life of a human can be longer than the life of a flower. But if we think about stones, our lifetime is limited by comparison. Nevertheless, they live and have lived as a flower, they changed form with erosion and maybe they will disappear one day. Time is a labile notion. In nature, I try to give mentally time to all the elements, or better… to give them another time. That is why I like picking up objects and create symbiosis with others materials in order to give them back a different time.

Hors cadre No. 2 (Out of frame)
 Rabbit skin glue, oil on burnt canvas, materials collected on site, colored tire, pieces of broken and painted miror, sack of jude, pvc pipe, rope, dried sea urchin, industrial wood, cardboard, polystlen, polyurethane foam, rusty metal, mattress, bauxite stones from Sommieres, Variable dimensions, 2013, ESAAix in Aix-en-Provence © Masahiro Suzuki

Your paintings are full of landscape that you saw and traversed. Your nomadic spirit and your travels have probably modified your production. I would like to know if and how far this moulded and fed your relation with art.

It is essential for me. It completely changed my way of seeing and perceive. The more I move, the more I understand the milieu, the environments, the human society. I believe that it is something that influences me as it influences every other human being. I travel following my inner inspirations. That is why I came to the south of France, after moving from a place to another (Italy, Germany…). I look for the landscapes that can inspire me, the social milieu, and the surroundings that can change my relation to things and to the world. These reflections and approaches shape my act of creation and allow me to leave a trace around me. I firmly believe in the mutual exchange. I take the traces I find wherever I go (mental and material) and I leave my own traces that nourish of what I take.

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