UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker


The title “Exhibition Maker” is related to the episode that Harald Szeemann, who curated WATARI-UM's first art exhibition in 1990, used this term “exhibition maker” because the word “curator” was not used in the world at that time.
This exhibition is organized by artist UMETSU Yoichi around a group of works collected by WATARI Shizuko (former director) before the establishment of WATARI-UM, The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art (most of which have never been exhibited at the museum), and includes the works by current artists, as well as some creative ideas for display methods.
We hope that the works of these 44 artists will shine with new brilliance in this exhibition.

Making exhibitions

A vast number of exhibitions continue to be held every day. Everyone is desperate to assert their "uniqueness" and to differentiate themselves. Immediacy and topicality are always in demand. Unfortunately, however, many of these activities are consumed and forgotten as leveled content on the existing infrastructure. Such a cycle is becoming fixed. Of course, as an artist myself, I continue to struggle in this vortex.

At the risk of sounding too frank, the only way to break out of this vicious cycle may be to start over from the perhaps overly simplistic question of what it means to "create an artwork" or "make an exhibition."

This exhibition is centered on the unknown collection from the days of Gallerie Watari, the predecessor of WATARI-UM, The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art. WATARI-UM has always been filled with the atmosphere of art before it was institutionalized. This could be described as "Pre-ART."
By the way, it has been a long time since the term "curation" came to be used to describe the process of planning an exhibition. However, I also feel that the term "curation" has recently come to prescribe and constrain the methods and the compromise of exhibition creation.
Therefore, in this exhibition, I would like to return to the spirit of an "exhibition maker" rather than an artist curator. I would like to encounter once again exhibitions that I, as a spectator of art, would like to see.

I will be happy if this exhibition will be a good encounter between the works and, above all, between "you" and this exhibition.





Born in Yamagata Prefecture in 1982. Artist and director of parplume. Major solo exhibitions include “APMoA Project, ARCH vol. 20 Umetsu Yoichi,” (Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, 2017), “Yoichi Umetsu: Pollinator,” (WATARI-UM, The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, 2021) and “Crystal Palace” (The National Museum of Art, Osaka, 2024). Major group exhibitions include "Parplume University and Yoichi Umetsu,” (WATARI-UM, The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, 2017) and “Does the Future Sleep Here? ——Revisiting the museum’s response to contemporary art after 65 years,” (The National Museum of Western Art, 2024). His major exhibition organizations include "Full Frontal, Naked Circulator, curated by Yoichi Umetsu," (Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Main Store, 6F Contemporary Gallery, 2020). Notable publications include “From Lamb to Mutton” (Art Diver, 2015) and “Yoichi Umetsu | Pollinator” (Bijutsu Shuppan-sha, 2023). He supervised the special feature “How to See Paintings” for the December 2020 issue of Bijutsu Techo.

Artists from our Collection

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    KANEKO Mitsuharu + NAKABAYASHI Tadayoshi

    1895-1975 Japan
    Poet. In 1923, at the age of 27, he published his first collection of poems, “Kogane Mushi” (Gold Bugs), which drew attention for its glowing portrayal of a young, arrogant youth. Later, due to the oppressive atmosphere of the time, he and his wife wandered from Asia to Europe for about 10 years, almost penniless. He analyzed the nation and the masses with a cool head and consistently left behind many anti-authority and anti-war poems.

    Poem by KANEKO Mitsuharu and Etching by NAKABAYASHI Tadayoshi, Collection of etchings "Admired poem of great decay," 1975

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    KANEKO Mitsuharu + NAKABAYASHI Tadayoshi

    1937- Japan
    While studying at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, he met KOMAI Tetsuro, who inspired him to pursue copperplate engraving. Deeply inspired by the poet KANEKO Mitsuharu's words, “Nothing is incorruptible,” which he has adopted the philosophy of his own work, and always emphasized the process of corrosion of the copperplate in his production. Through his copperplate prints, he depicts the antagonism and harmony of opposites such as black and white, light and shadow, and life and death.

    Poem by KANEKO Mitsuharu and Etching by NAKABAYASHI Tadayoshi, Collection of etchings "Admired poem of great decay," 1975

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    INOKUMA Genichiro

    1902-1993 Japan
    In 1938, he moved to France to study under Henri Matisse, and from 1955, he lived and worked in New York for about 20 years, where his style changed dramatically from figurative to abstract. While pursuing the expression of painting, he also believed that art should be open to all people, and developed a variety of activities, including public art such as the mural painting at JR Ueno Station and designing wrapping paper for Mitsukoshi Department Store.

    Park, around 1968-70, Silk screen

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker


    1903-1979 Japan
    Art critic and poet. As a theoretical pillar of Japanese surrealism, he was a close friend of artists in Japan and abroad. In 1958, he represented Japan at the Venice Biennale and served on the jury, after which he began experimenting with figurative art in earnest. His activities were diverse including the creation of decalcomanias.

    Decalcomania No.27, 1971, Decalcomania, gouache

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    Hans ERNI

    1909-2015 Switzerland
    Influenced by Picasso and other Cubists, he began to paint abstract paintings and created his own style, making full use of organic line drawings that mix figurative and abstract elements. He is also known for his posters for the Red Cross and the International Olympic Committee, as well as the mural for the 1939 Swiss Expo.

    Artist and model with dog, 1969, Etching

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    HORIUCHI Masakazu

    1911-2001 Japan
    He is known as a pioneer of abstract sculpture in Japan. Interested in abstract sculpture since childhood, he consciously incorporated the shapes and tactile sensations of the world around him in his pursuit of intelligent yet humorous abstract forms. His work has been widely introduced abroad, in the Sao Paulo Biennial and other exhibitions.

    Belly button energy, year unknown, Silk screen print and pencil on paper

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    FURUSAWA Iwami

    1912-2000 Japan
    A pioneer of surrealism and avant-garde art, he was known as the “Japanese Dali”. After serving on the Chinese front and serving as a prisoner of war, he was demobilized and founded the Japan Avant-garde Artists Club in 1947. He continued to depict the atrocities and absurdities of war while painting a series of myths and nudes based on the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters).

    B.Hermaphrodite from portfolio Nest of Demons-Fantasies on Paris, 1963, Etching

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    KATSURA Yuki

    1913-1991 Japan
    A pioneering female artist who bridged the pre- and post-war periods. She began to create innovative collages using cork and cloth, which attracted the attention of artists such as TAKIGUCHI Shuzo and FUJITA Tsuguharu before World War II. After the war, she developed her own unique allegorical expression, including social satire and humor. Beginning in 1956, she lived in Europe and the U.S. for six years and visited Africa on her own.

    In front of the sea, around 1974, Watercolor on paper

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    SHINODA Toko

    1913-2021 Japan
    After studying calligraphy almost entirely on her own, she moved to the U.S. in 1956. In New York, where abstract painting was at its height, she experimented with a new form of Indian ink that was not limited to letters. Even after reaching the age of 100, she continued to create abstract works in Indian ink.

    ARRIVED WIND 'C, 1975, Hand colored on lithograph

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    KOMAI Tetsuro

    1920-1976 Japan
    Known as a pioneer of etching in Japan. He continued to make etchings throughout his life, expressing his inner self, illusions, and dreams, and won international acclaim at the first Sao Paulo Biennial in 1951. He also participated in the Experimental Studio, a comprehensive art group led by TAKIGUCHI Shuzo, and had many interactions with literary figures.

    A labyrinth of time, 1952, Aquatint

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    YOSHIDA Hodaka

    1926-1995 Japan
    In 1955, he traveled to Latin America and was impressed by the ruins of the Mayan civilization, which led him to create abstract prints inspired by primitive art. His pioneering work, combining techniques such as woodblock, silkscreen, and photogravure, made him an internationally renowned artist.

    Morning of Paco and friends, 1968, Print

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    TAN-AMI Niwako

    1927- Japan
    She has been making mezzotint etchings for more than 50 years, since about 1960. She has created many works using familiar objects as motifs. As she says, "I always try to keep my mind at peace, but I naturally engrave emotional swings in my work," and she has drawn down daily moments, such as the expressions of the seasons and events that occur to her, in prints as if they were diaries.

    Flower¹, around 1973, Mezzotint

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker


    1927-2010 Germany
    Studied art after demobilization from World War II. Influenced by surrealism, he produced paintings and sculptures characterized by sexual imagery, mythological influences, and fantastic, floating forms. He established his reputation as one of the most important members of the Magic Realism circle and was active internationally, participating in Documenta 3 in 1964.

    Footfish gold plated, 1973, Bronze

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    Otto PIENE

    1928-2014 USA
    Drafted at age 16 as an anti-aircraft gunner, he became interested in searchlights and artillery lines. In 1957, he founded the artist group ZERO, which published a journal and organized a series of one-day night exhibitions, creating an international network among artists. He created works using light and movement and is considered as one of the pioneers of media art.

    Little Pigments – Fire Gouache, 1962, Pigments and fire gouache on painted paper

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    Horst JANSSEN

    1929-1995 Germany
    Studied printmaking at the Landeskunstschule Hamburg with Paul WUNDERLICH, one year his senior. He kept his distance from international trends and produced works in the vein of German Romanticism. He painted deformed self-portraits, human figures, still lifes, and landscapes on dark screens with great precision. Strongly influenced by ukiyo-e artists, he called himself a “painting fanatic” following the example of KATSUSHIKA Hokusai.

    Self – to Frogland from the portfolio “Frogland,” 1972, Etching

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker


    1931- Japan
    He moved to New York in 1958 and joined Fluxus. He developed groundbreaking works that appealed to the sense of touch and "environments" that incorporated the surrounding environment. His work evolved into a spectrum of rainbow colors covering various motifs. He uses a variety of formats, including painting, printmaking, sculpture, and installation.

    Rainbow, 1979, Silk screen

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker


    1932-2007 USA
    After studying art in New York and Vienna, he moved to England, where he became a leading figure in British Pop Art in the 1960s. His work consistently questions what it means to be figurative and painterly. Many of his works are influenced by Jewish artists such as Walter Benjamin and historical narratives.

    Outlying London Districts (2), 1971, Silk screen

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    SANO Nui

    1932-2023 Japan
    Since the 1950s, she has created many paintings with blue as the base color, earning her the nickname "Sano Blue" or "Painter of Blue.” To blue as a base color, she adds nuanced brushstrokes and other colors such as red, white, yellow, and black, creating movement and rhythm in her paintings.

    Blue Wind, 1973, Acrylic on canvas

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    UNO Aquirax

    1934- Japan
    A leading Japanese illustrator and graphic designer. He was a member of the Nippon Design Center in the 1950s, where he worked on corporate advertising, and after going independent in the 1960s, he has worked extensively on posters for TERAYAMA Shuji's "Tenjō Sajiki," illustrations for picture books and children's books, animated films, paintings, stage designs, and more. He is widely recognized for his brilliant and aesthetic style.

    Cover illustration for "Picture book: Tales from the Arabian Nights" (text: TERAYAMA Shuji, illustration: UNO Aquirax), around 1969, Ink and collage on paper

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    NAKANISHI Natsuyuki

    1935-2016 Japan
    In 1963, he founded the "Hi-Red Center" together with TAKAMATSU Jiro and AKASEGAWA Genpei. He was friends with Butoh dancer HIJIKATA Tatsumi and surrealist artists such as TAKIGUCHI Shuzo, and was involved in stage design. Around 1964, he returned to painting, deepening his contemplation of the concept of painting itself and expressing his tension with space.

    Study for “arc – Tangent Arc,” 1979, Pencil on paper

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    Rolf ESCHER

    1936- Germany
    After studying art and linguistics, he has worked primarily in the field of printmaking. He presents calm and skillful depictions of empty rooms and abandoned libraries, narrating events in past spaces. While props such as clothes and chairs create a sense of loneliness caused by the passage of time, insects and skeletons that have replaced humans appear in a humorous way.

    The lobster, 1972, Etching

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    YAMANOBE Yoshio

    1936-2016 Japan
    He studied painting at university, but decided to study printmaking at graduate school in order to "create without looking" instead of looking at a model, and became fascinated with copperplate engraving under the guidance of KOMAI Tetsuro. He received high acclaim for the soft light and dark techniques of aquatint. In 1974, he won the Grand Prix at the Ibiza International Print Biennial for his print collection "Bearded Man and Dwarf Country".

    A picture in the landscape -WORK NO3-, 1979, Etching, aquatint

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    Alighiero BOETTI

    1940-1994 Italy
    He participated in the Arte Povera, an avant-garde movement that began in Italy in the 1960s, using industrial materials and natural wood. He is known for his paintings done with ballpoint pens, works done with friends and acquaintances who are not artists, and other works that take the dignity out of art by using simple materials and techniques.

    Airplanes, 1981, Ballpoint pen on three sheets of printed paper on paper on canvas

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    HITSUDA Nobuya

    1941- Japan
    He spent his childhood on the slopes and open spaces along the banks of the Tama River and continued to observe the changing landscape of Tokyo during the period of rapid economic growth. He has fragmented and recombined familiar objects and nostalgic landscapes into new images that lie somewhere between figuration and abstraction. He is also highly regarded as a teacher, and his students include NARA Yoshitomo and SUGITO Hiroshi.

    Weathering, 1975, Oil paint on canvas

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    IDA Shoichi

    1941-2006 Japan
    He lived in Paris and New York from 1969 to 1970. Exposed to conceptual art and became friends with John Cage. Developed experimental work that explored the limits of printmaking. He believed that printmaking is a relationship between print and paper, and that everything is the surface that results from contact and encounters with other people.

    Paper Between Inked Stain and Brushed Stain, 1980, Lithograph, silk screen

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    AKAI Fujio

    1945- Japan
    Born in Sumatra, Indonesia, and raised in Japan, he studied with Joseph BEUYS at the Kunsthochschule Düsseldorf, Germany, beginning in 1964. He is highly regarded as a standard-bearer of the New Abstract movement for his drawings, which are characterized by vibrant colors and graceful forms.

    Landscape of colors, 1983, Water painting

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    HAGIWARA Sakumi

    1946- Japan
    A filmmaker, director and essayist. He participated in the founding of TERAYAMA Shuji‘s theater laboratory "Tenjō Sajiki" in 1967. His role as a beautiful boy in "La Marie-Vision" was a great success. He works in a variety of media, including printmaking, photography, and video, and his works incorporate "time" in the form of memories, dreams, and changes in the subject matter.

    Pen, 1977, Print

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    ANDO Nana

    1948- Japan
    Printmaker. She creates silkscreen works with motifs of photographic houseplants and cityscapes. The delicate gradations and rhythms of the silkscreens free the viewer's eye from the familiarity of order and direct it to a new space.

    Work B-7, 1981, Silk screen

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    HAMAMURA Hiroshi

    1948-2021 Japan
    Painter, began working in the 1980s on a series of large-scale paintings entitled "Nagasaki-Ko" on the theme of his hometown, Nagasaki, and the prayer for the atomic bombing. His oil paintings are characterized by their detailed depiction and vivid colors.

    Summer, year unknown, Oil paint on canvas

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker


    1957- Japan
    Hailed as the standard-bearer of a new style of Japanese painting, he has garnered attention for his Parapsychology series, which explores the wild instincts and inner lives of animals. His work encompasses everything from Rinpa school and Pop Art to Jungian psychology and Celtic culture, continuing the tradition of Japanese painting while incorporating colorful, pop expressions.

    Cosmic flower, 1988, Gold leaf and mineral pigments

Guest Artists

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker


    1945-2017 Japan
    After working for an advertising company and as a freelance designer, TAKAMATSU calls himself a surrealist artist. This year, which marks the centenary of the publication of André Breton's Surrealist Manifesto, is also a year for rethinking surrealism. Takamatsu has re-illustrated the typical surrealist image with more fervor than the artists of the time.

    Cruise under the moon, 2015, Acrylic on board

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    UMEZAWA Kazuo

    1952- Japan
    While a student at the Tokyo University of the Arts, UMEZAWA was influenced by Philip MORITZ, HASEGAWA Kiyoshi, and KOMAI Tetsuro, among others. UMEZAWA's mezzotint gradations, which are the core of his work, are extremely delicate. His skill was fully utilized at Print House OM, where he worked as a craftsman in the printmaking studio. UMEZAWA is the embodiment of both an artist and a craftsman. He is also the father of UMEZAWA Kazuki.

    Crash landing-4, 1976, Etching

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    UMEZAWA Kazuki

    1985- Japan
    As a core member of CHAOS*LOUNGE, it is no exaggeration to say that UMEZAWA's work, which brought the Internet and character representation into contemporary art, was an icon of the 2000s-2010s. For this exhibition, UMEZAWA will show a new work that incorporates the context of another of his roots, the history of Japanese printmaking.

    Lavos, 2009, Digital print on aluminum plywood panel, acrylic, pencil, colored pencil, pen, glitters, crayon, etc.

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    ASADA Hiroshi

    1953-1997 Japan
    Although his early work was devoted to informalism, a trip to Europe led him to switch from an abstract style to a surrealist approach to figurative painting. ASADA's works are full of skillful trompe l'oeil and depictions of supernatural phenomena. The true value of ASADA's works may lie in his science fictional imagination, which cannot be reduced to the categories of art history.

    The prodigal's return (for triptychs), 1988, oil paint on canvas

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    TSUJI Motoko

    1973- Japan
    Influenced by her former teacher, NAKABAYASHI Tadayoshi, she currently works with the help of Kawara Printmaking Laboratory. She creates images by applying various textures unique to printmaking to seemingly insignificant subjects such as plants and vessels. It is an orthodox method of printmaking, but because of this, there are few opportunities to examine the true nature of her work.

    One day’s gift 1, 2013, Etching, giclee

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    TSUKUDA Hiroki

    1978- Japan
    He uses both high culture and subculture as resources for his works. His works are rooted in video games, novels, comics, and the science fictional imagination. He is also influenced by André Breton, and it could be said that he continues to update his surrealist imagination. It is both TSUKUDA's personal history and our own vision of the future.

    Equinox, 2024, Charcoal, acrylic ink and pencil on paper, wood panel, with silkscreen printed acrylic frame

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    FUKAYA Etsuko

    1981- Japan
    FUKAYA is known for her etchings, that depict the abyssal world of wriggling flora and fauna in minute detail, and copperplate engraving is quite compatible with such subjects and forms. FUKAYA has mainly exhibited in the world of “contemporary art,” but if she differs from the many “super-technicians” on the figurative level, what is the difference?

    Untitled, 2005, Etching

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    SUZUKI Takako

    1984- Japan
    SUZUKI's paintings often feature anonymous girls with outstretched arms, legs, and necks. The elements are scattered in a disorderly manner, as if a toy box were turned upside down on a picnic blanket. She has participated intermittently from Geisai#3 to #19.

    Dropping with a twinkle, 2023, Acrylic on canvas

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker


    1984- Japan
    HOSHIKAWA creates a wide range of works, including bulging diaries with collage, paintings, paintings, and fabrics such as Spirit of Mushrooms. Among them, her paintings, which are created by converting alcohol into motive force, are reminiscent of HASEGAWA Toshiyuki's work in the past.

    Patients, 2020, mixedmedia

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    SATO Eriko

    1985- Japan
    The lightness of pastel paintings that do not feel like prints. Having studied fashion and printmaking, SATO's work shows a will to deviate from so-called “prints”. Like the Arts and Crafts movement, SATO's prints and patterns will continue to develop in everyday life.

    Floating, 2023, Waterless lithograph

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker


    1987- Japan
    YAMASAKI's monotonish works often depict familiar communities, such as schoolmates and family members, in the form of paintings on silk. YAMASAKI's use of katabokashi (one side blurring) reveals a hierarchical structure more akin to a stage set than to traditional Japanese painting. She attempts to examine the distance between the individual and the group through the use of pictorial space.

    Soka (vegetables and fruits), 2023, Painting on silk

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker


    2001- Japan
    For now, we can say that Ikitsugi’s works are in the vein of “character painting” in the narrow sense of the term. A compromise between character design and the realization of pictorial intensity. Specifically, it is an extension of the work of the artists like KUDO Makiko, FUKUSHI Chihiro, and ob. Ikitsugi is also actively involved in independent projects and publishing zines.

    I want to know first and foremost that I cannot touch faraway, 2023, oil paint, pastel and color pencil on canvas

  • UMETSU Yoichi|Exhibition Maker

    TSUCHIYA Nobuko

    1972- Japan
    TSUCHIYA selects and collects scrap wood that is no longer useful as the surplus of various industries based on her own value judgment. She reorganizes them as the vocabulary for her own expression. In other words, TSUCHIYA's work can be described as coming and going between “making” and “finding.” There is no room for literary poetic sentiment, and a civilized order different from ours has been constructed.

    11th Dimension Project, 2011, mixedmedia

    *These works are for reference only. They may differ from the actual exhibition.

Past exhibitions