Katsumi Nakai

1927-2013, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan

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Katsumi Nakai (1927-2013 Hirakata, Osaka, Japan) studied painting at the Institute of Fine Arts Osaka, Japan, and was already active in the Japanese art scene with several successful shows in his native land when he moved to Milan in 1964. This period in Milan was one of the most stimulating and defining moments in contemporary art history, which further developed Nakai’s remarkable oeuvre and unique point of view.
Described by friends and fellow artists as steadfast and meditative, Nakai soon entered the circle of artists that in 1967 writer and art critic Guido Ballo described as the “New Milanese School” (“Nuova Scuola di Milano”). Amongst them were personalities such as Lucio Fontana and Tomonori Toyofuku, as well as: Enrico Baj, Agostino Bonalumi, Paolo Scheggi, Enrico Castellani, and Nanda Vigo. In particular, Lucio Fontana and gallerist Renato Cardazzo played pivotal roles in the shaping of Nakai’s artistic practice in Milan. Nakai was interested in Fontana’s idea of Spatialism, and how it was felt as a breach of artistic conventions, allowing for concepts such as time and space to enter the canvas. And Cardazzo gave Nakai his first solo exhibition at Galleria del Cavallino, Venice in 1965, as well as multiple exhibitions at Galleria del Naviglio, Milan.


1965 Galleria del Cavallino, Venice, Italy

1966 Galleria L’Argentario, Trento, Italy

Galleria Traghetto, Venice, Italy

Galleria del Naviglio, Milan, Italy

1967 Galleria del Naviglio, Milan, Italy

Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan, Italy

1969 Galleria Navigliovenezia, Venice, Italy

1970 Galleria L’Argentario, Trento, Italy

1971 Bon à Tirer Gallery, Milan, Italy

1972 Galleria del Naviglio, Milan, Italy

Galleria Christian Stein, Turin, Italy

Arte Contemporanea del Giappone, Palazzo della Permanente, Milan, Italy

1973 Galleria il Salotto, Como, Italy

1974 Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland

1975 Galleria Santoro, Rome, Italy

Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland

1976 Galleria del Naviglio, Milan, Italy

1977 Galleria il Salotto, Como, Italy

1978 Galleria Lyda Levi, Milan, Italy

1981 Alviani, Bacci, Capogrossi, Deluigi, Nakai: opera grafiche, Grand Gallery, Osaka, Japan

1983 Artisti giapponesi contemporanei, Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy

1984 Galleria del Naviglio, Milan, Italy

1990 Galleria del Naviglio, Milan, Italy (1990)

2018 Ronchini Gallery, London, UK (1990)

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