gallery contemporary crafts norway
Galleri format Oslo

Nao Matsunaga
Mumbo Jumbo Kathedral

Nao Matsunaga’s exhibition at Galleri Format Oslo consists of a body of work that is inspired from his residency at Oslo National Academy of the Arts in 2015, and from traveling around Norway during the same period. His objective for the trip was to immerse himself in Norwegian culture and society and to find out how and why objects, buildings, spaces, and living things look and feel the way they do. Also important was to explore the wilderness and to experience the fear one feels when encountering brutal nature. Matsunaga describes this experience as follows: “Over all power of nature felt strong in Norway, and there was a sense of humans living on the edge of a harsh yet beautiful natural world.”


His interpretation of the Norwegian Stave churches is from the notion that they are more like animals or plants than buildings, and the proportions of standard building components were greatly exaggerated too create an otherworldly feel to the churches. Matsunaga expresses these interpretations by coiling and texturing clay, carving and assembling wood or drawing and painting on stones and paper. The combination of different materials and the duality of organic and geometric elements creates a contradictory expression in his sculptures and works on paper. Matsunaga’s totemic objects show his intuitive, yet controlled process, and are based on his deep interest in ceremonial objects and spaces. The sculptures are built from bottom up and he concedes standing an object up as a profound activity, it is aspirational, one has to navigate gravity and balance comes into play. In this sense, a totemic piece occupies its space much like a performance piece. Only its dances are of stillness and its moves suggestive.


Nao Matsunaga (b. 1980 Osaka, Japan) lives and works in London. Matsunaga gained an MA from the Royal College of Art and a BA from the University of Brighton. He has exhibited internationally and has participated in artist-in-residence programs including Arizona State University Art Museum in 2013, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Detroit in 2014 and the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2014. His work is featured in public collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and York Museum. In 2013 he won the British Ceramics Biannual award and the Jerwood Makers Open in 2012.



Welcome to the exhibition opening Thursday 17 September at 6pm.

Garth Clark, founder and Chief Editor of CFile Weekly, will officially open the exhibition.


Utstillingsprogram høsten 2015
13.august–20.desember 2015