Two recent works are disarming because of their off-kilter resemblance to functional objects. An untitled masonry wall passes for a ready-made, thanks to the addition of an aluminum coat rack and two glass mirror balls. A 2016 construction brings to mind a gymnastics rig for extraterrestrials: two 30-foot aluminum poles rest across winged pommel horses behind what looks like a ruined fiberglass trampoline.
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Even a quick leapfrog across the career of Takesada Matsutani, who was born in Osaka, Japan, and is now based in Paris, reveals tremendous formal variation. From his Gutai period, “A Visual Point-A” (1965), a three-dimensional, vinyl glue form built onto a golden yellow canvas, contains a disturbing horizontal slit that is simultaneously a toothless mouth, a sexual eclipse and an empty eye socket. “Nagare-8,” from 1983, is a 32-foot-long paper banner in which two intense graphite stripes frame a row of turpentine-aided swooshes and drips.
The constant is an almost endlessly fruitful tension between the abstract appeal of a colored plane and the inevitably concrete materiality of its execution. In a few hard-edge acrylic abstractions from 1971 and ’72, it’s a question of color choice — graphic shapes in blues, oranges and reds that harmonize more than they contrast make it hard to distinguish where any surface stops or starts. In the graphite-only pieces he began making just a few years later, it’s a product of the elfish fickleness of the medium itself: A shimmering, silvery column, in “Stream black and white,” records each stroke of the artist’s hand — but only from certain angles.