Masumi Iwakawa solo exhibition “BLOW”

Masumi Iwakawa solo exhibition “BLOW”

2024.03.02(Sat) – 2024.03.11(Mon)

YUGENGallery will be holding Masumi Iwakawa's solo exhibition "BLOW" from Saturday, March 2nd to Monday, March 11th.

Lines and colors emit like improvisation.

Masumi Iwakawa is a painter who is also a saxophone player. Abstract paintings depicting dynamic shapes and vivid color contrasts, as if emotions were poured onto the canvas, depicting portraits with closed-minded expressions, and fantastical images drawn using pop art techniques. . The artist's vitality is conveyed through his motifs and style, which are drawn as if he were improvising with various tensions and fluctuations of emotion.

``The feeling of running the brush and applying color is similar to playing the saxophone.My style as an artist is largely derived from music,'' he says, creating a numbing wave. The colors emitted within, and the lines drawn like a clear melody, give a sense of music. All ⚫️⚫︎ items will be exhibited, focusing on newly drawn works. YUGEN Gallery will be relocated in April, and this exhibition will be the last exhibition at the current gallery.

A journey to find art that transcends time and space

When Masumi Iwakawa was a high school student, he was ``blown away'' by a live performance by Suetoshi Shimizu, a saxophonist based in Hiroshima, and decided to become a jazz musician. Although he entered a music college, he dropped out early because the environment was not conducive to learning jazz, and studied under Suetoshi Shimizu.

As part of his music career, Iwakawa's CD jacket paintings for the band he was a member of became a hot topic, and he began painting works to hang in restaurants and even murals on buildings in his hometown of Hiroshima. He says that he fell in love with painting because he felt the expression of combining colors and spinning and layering lines gave him a sense of freedom and stimulation that was different from music.

Wanting to compete in the world of painting, I moved to the United States alone in 2013. He began his career as a painter in New York, USA, using a room owned by Andy Warhol and also occupied by Jean-Michel Basquiat as his studio.

``At that time, when I saw Basquiat's paintings for the first time, I felt as if I had met him. It was like I was witnessing the moment when he lived.The works that he brought to life will move people thousands of years later.'' , we might be able to communicate with each other. I was fascinated by the endless world of art that transcends time."

"Drawing is an adventure. You don't just go in one direction, you go forward and back, you look around and sway, finding things and losing things. I'm excited about that kind of adventure."

Since then, Iwakawa has traveled to Europe and Asia while based in the United States. My travels are always deeply connected to my creations, as I gain inspiration from the experience of opening my heart to the people, climate, and animals of the places I visit.

In particular, in Berlin, Germany, where he has been based since 2017, he had the opportunity to interact with local people and hear directly about the "painful and sad history of violence," and Iwakawa, who is from Hiroshima, says he felt a lot of things. Also, as he witnessed the absurdity of a society where various races come and go, he changed from the clear, high-contrast color scheme he used when he lived in America to deeper colors, and began to draw people who had rarely been drawn before. As a motif, I began to draw portraits with expressions that are difficult to read.

Something intangible that stirs emotions

After returning to Japan in 2019, his interest in line expression and creating color layers, which he had always been interested in, increased, and he focused on abstract expression. After a solo exhibition in 2022 with the title ``signifié,'' which means ``something that is meant, something that is expressed,'' I have been focusing on ``not drawing forms, but rather things that are invisible but exist.'' ” has become a proposition for Iwakawa. In the same year, she also gave birth. ``The mystery of life that I felt during my pregnancy, the beauty and strength of unfinished life'' became a new breath of fresh air for the painter Iwakawa.

This exhibition, ``BLOW,'' is being held at a time when there is a growing purity of expression that expresses ``the way things are before they become words, without being bound by abstraction or concreteness.'' The breath that Iwakawa senses through his paintings emerges as a passion that shakes the viewer's sensibilities like the blow of a saxophone.

Exhibition highlights

*Some of the exhibited works may be subject to change. please note that.

About sales of works

At the same time as the exhibition is held, the works will be available for viewing and purchase on the YUGEN Gallery official online store.

Information on visitor benefits

Only those who fill out the survey form when visiting will receive an original art book free of charge.

This is an original art book exclusive to this exhibition, which includes the exhibited works and exhibition statement in one volume.

Masumi Iwakawa Photo Exhibition “BLOW” Art Book
Recorded artist: Masumi Iwakawa
B4 variant/List price 1,650 yen (tax included)
*Please note that the design of the art book may be partially changed.  

Masumi Iwakawa

Masumi Iwakawa/Painter. Born in Hiroshima Prefecture in 1985. He started playing the saxophone at the age of 16 and entered music college, but dropped out. While studying jazz under Suetoshi Shimizu and pursuing musical activities, he began painting on his own. In 2013, he traveled to New York, USA, and held his first solo exhibition, "BIG BANG" IN THE EAR, in Manhattan. Moved base to Berlin, Germany in 2017. Returned to Japan in 2019. She is actively involved in activities such as holding live sessions with her husband, Hikaru Iwakawa, who is a quena player.


2024.3.2 (Sat) - 2024.3.11 (Mon)


YUGEN Gallery


Token International Building 3F, 2-12-19 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Opening hours

*Ends at 17:00 on the last day only

closing day


Days in the gallery

Admission fee



*Please note that depending on the situation, the exhibition period and opening hours may change without notice.