UNBUILT is an exhibition of paintings and drawings by the Japanese artist Minoru Nomata, which comes from multiple series, including works from 1987 to 2020, and highlights the artist’s continued attention to fictional buildings and environmental landscapes without human existence. These paintings have the form and structure of the uncertain period. These forms and structures are derived from the mixed architectural language of the artist, fusion of industry, fantasy, ancient future and developed from the artist’s iterative process. It usually starts with a sketch of the image found, and then converts it over a period of months, years, or even decades.
In Nomata’s early works, the influence of Charles Sheeler is obvious, the 20th-century American “precisionist” painter focused on the aesthetics and industrial landmarks of the machine age. Continuing this point into the work display of this exhibition, the artist uses the Japanese “Chigaidana” shelf as the basis and loosely displays his paintings on the wooden structure. Several paintings are hung in the frame of these structures and placed at different heights. The slender partition helps to encourage viewers to move in the space and see different paintings in the same field of view.
The earliest works in the exhibition reflect his interest in classical, Renaissance, and medieval resources, titled Decor – 5 (1987), it has a bony-white conical tower with doorways and niches cut into its volume. The “Windscape/Perspective” series of the late 1990s and early 2000s featured tall and ancient buildings, characterized by exposed structural elements and sails, ropes, and rotating blades, which evoke a strong sense of emptiness and movement. “Bourou”, the Chinese character for “watchtower”, the painting was created in the 1990s after his daughter was seriously ill, depicting earthy terrains such as cliff faces and mountains transitioning to pyramids and tall conical towers or from pyramids to tall Transition of conical towers.