Masakazu Kobayashi

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beauty, chaos, harmony, nature
Design and Crafts (textiles)
Visual Arts (installation art)
Asia, Eastern
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June 19, 2003
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The thread of order and chaos

Masakazu Kobayashi creates installations using both natural and manmade materials such as silk and aluminium. Like his artistic partner and wife Naomi Kobayashi, his relationship to and with his surroundings is fundamental to his work, which reflect a concern with space, light and harmony. The Kobayashis live together in a mountainous region outside Kyoto, in a house built by Masakazu, which echoes their artistic concerns. Although both artists have worked independently for several years and are both acclaimed artists in their own right, they have recently chosen to exhibit together, giving joint expression to their common philosophy. Each piece is still created separately but then brought together to make one installation. This was the format of their contribution to the innovative ?Textural Space? project in the UK, which was originated by the Surrey Institute of Art and Design University College, UK and partly funded by Visiting Arts, UK. The touring exhibition in 2001 featured thirteen leading contemporary textile artists from Japan and focused on works that tested the three-dimensional potential of textiles within an installation format. The first elements to be encountered were Masakazu Kobayashi?s ?Gate of Bow? and ?Pond of Bow?. These were composed of several tensile ?bows? fashioned from thread and fine aluminium shafts, and randomly placed in the gallery space. In the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, the curator of the project Lesley Millar points out ?the delicate balance between order and chaos which is central to the work?. She writes, ?Masakazu refers to the importance of line and the possibilities inherent in the single thread, as we look at these two works we are aware of the effect of an accumulation of many, many single lines. Each thread determines a movement in space and each is dependent upon and sets up a relationship with its neighbour. Each bow creates a sense of its own direction but because each is quite short, the travel of the eye is halted, continuously returning to the impact of the totality of the piece, increasingly aware of the density of the linear structure.? Masakazu Kobayashi dense and overlaid structures gave the appearance of random movement which both contrasted with and complemented Naomi Kobayashi?s pieces. Source: Based on text by Lesley Millar in the ?Textural Space? catalogue
Author: Diana Yeh, Visiting Arts


Masakazu Kobayashi was born in 1944. He took his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Kyoto University of Arts between 1963 and 1966 where he specialised in lacquer. He has been teaching as a Professor at the Okayama Prefectural University since 1995. He has had several solo shows in Japan since 1974 and has participated in numerous group shows worldwide. He has also won many international prizes for his works, including the gold medal in the 6th Kyoto Art Festival in 1996.
His recent installations involve collaborations with his wife, Naomi Kobayashi, who is also an established artist. They live and work near Kyoto.



Exhibition / Installation,
Lausanne City, Switzerland Central Museum of Textile, Lodz, Poland The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA Cleveland Museum of Art, USA Museum of Modern Art, Gunma, Japan The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan Kyoto City Museum of Art, Japan Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK The Israel Museum, Israel


Exhibition / Installation,
2001 ‘Textural Space’, organised by Surrey Institute of Art and Design University College, UK, toured UK 2000 ‘Sound from Cosmos-2000’, Gunma Museum of Modern Art, Gunma 2000 ‘Form of Fuki’, Gallery Maronie Kyoto 1999 SOFA New York 1999 ‘70 Designers in Tribute to Issika Gaon’, the Israel Museum, Israel 1999 ‘6th International Textile Competition’, Kyoto 1998 ‘Tradition Transformed’, The Brown/Grotta Gallery USA 1998 ‘SOFA’, New York and Chicago 1998 ‘Oriented Textile’, William Lipton Ltd. New York USA 1998 ‘Imaginations ´98´’, Gastuiskapel, Poperinge, Belgium 1998 ‘Folding, Japanese Miniatures’, Canberra Museum Australia 1997 ‘The 10th Wave: A Celebration’, The Brown/Grotta Gallery, CT, USA 1997 ‘Light, wind, water, concrete and textile’, Nariwa Museum, Okayama 1997 ‘Fibre Art in the 90´s’, New Jersey Centre for Visual Arts, NJ, USA 1996 ‘Textile Wizard from Japan’, The Israel Museum, Israel 1996 ‘Textile of Japan’, Meguro Prefecture Museum, Tokyo 1996 ‘Textile Magicians in Japan’, Passage de Retz, Paris France 1996 ‘Japanese Design 1950-–95’, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France & Suntory Museum, Osaka 1995 ‘Soft Sculpture’, Dongah Art Gallery, Seoul, Korea 1995 ‘Sheila Hicks joined by Seven Friends and Colleagues from Japan’, The Brown/Grotta Gallery, CT USA 1995 ‘Japanese Studio Crafts: Tradition & The Avant-Garde’, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK


Exhibition / Installation,
2001 Gallery K, Kurashiki Japan 1999 Gallery 99/00, Okayama Japan 1999 ´One Man Show´ Gallery 1996 Norrie Gallery Tokyo 1993 AD & A Gallery, Osaka Japan 1993 The National Museum of Art, Osaka Japan 1990 AD & A Gallery, Osaka Japan 1989 Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo Japan 1989 Gallery Gallery, Kyoto Japan 1988 Gallery Ueda, Tokyo Japan 1988 Sumitomo Kaijyo Communication Center, Tokyo Japan 1988 Gallery Gallery, Kyoto Japan 1987 Gallery Gallery, Kyoto Japan 1987 Marronnier Gallery, Kyoto Japan 1987 Gallery 16, Kyoto Japan



1975 2nd International Textile Triennale, Lodz, Poland, Ministry of Culture & Art Prize
1978 1st Enba Exhibition Japan, National Museum of Modern Art prize
1987 International Textile Competition Kyoto, Outstanding Award
1991 1st Takashimaya Culture Foundation Japan, New Artist Award
1994 4th International Textile Competition Kyoto, Excellence Award
1996 6th Kyoto Art Festival, Gold Medal


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the partner institutions.

Textural Space

Contemporary Japanese Textile Art

(01 April 01 - 31 December 01)


Textural Space

Website of ‘Textural Space’ project originated by the Surrey Institute of Art and Design University College, UK.


Website of Masakazu and Naomi Kobayashi