Nobu Fukui - I Am the Fire


PRESS RELEASE: Nobu Fukui - I Am the Fire, Mar 19 - May  2, 2015

Nobu Fukui - I Am the Fire

March 19 – April 25, 2015
DELETE Performance at the Gallery: Thursday, April 16th, 6 PM

Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.” - Jorge Luis Borges

Margaret Thatcher Projects is pleased to present I Am the Fire, a solo exhibition of paintings by Nobu Fukui. His paintings are marked by a marriage of painterly abstraction with elements of collage and mixed media, culminating in dazzling surfaces that may be read as improvisational action paintings from a distance or, at a closer vantage point, pop art suggestive of a narrative. 

Clipping from manga or American comics as readily as he would from fine art magazines, the artist appropriates the iconic imagery of cartoon heroes, major artworks, political figures, and celebrities for insertion in his paintings. Scattered in a frenzy of color, the images, cut paper, and beads that adorn his surfaces sparkle with vitality and embrace the velocity of imagery to which we as a society have grown increasingly accustomed. Underneath, the artist wraps his canvas with newsprint, still apparent at the sides of each panel. Titles and themes are often derived from this early preparation of his surfaces, linking the work with contemporary current events. 

The exhibition will also include, for the first time, Fukui’s “Delete Paintings.” Delete is an ongoing performance piece that was first conceived in 2014 and currently scheduled for completion towards the end of the artist’s life. Deleted panels appear as canvas supports where the picture has been cut out. In its place, the word “Delete” with a serial number and the original title and year of completion stenciled in black. The completion of Delete is marked by the destruction of the first painting Fukui completed in New York, which he had purchased back from the original collector. On Thursday, April 16th, at 6:00 PM, Fukui will bring three paintings from his studio to the gallery, and delete them one by one. The project has been controversial, but addresses a number of issues including the much discussed commodification of art, and the more personal/human issues of confronting death, and assumption of control beyond one’s lifetime.

Nobu Fukui was born in Tokyo, Japan, and came to the United States in 1962. He has been living and working in New York since 1963. Fukui has exhibited widely across the United States and Asia, and is now in several public collections including that of the New Britain Museum Of American Art, The Indianapolis Museum Of Art, The Kyoto National Museum Of Modern Art and The Tokyo Museum Of Modern Art. Reviews of Fukui’s paintings over the years are numerous, appearing in The New York Times, Art in America, Art News and several others.