It is painting of perception, the capacity of our being to search for the ideal rapport between ourselves and nature through our senses.
This is how the works of Shuhei Matsuyama rouse us, more unconsciously than consciously, toward a “calibrated” vision, a search beyond color and form to the essence of the composition, the “life” that is within it. And what is life, if not images, sounds, aromas, smells, movement? It is here that the interpretation of the colors, forms, reasons for the paintings by the Japanese artist requires an activation of our senses, a putting into movement our beings in search for the explanatory gesture. Essentially, the fascination of Matsuyama’s abstracts lies in seeing that which you want to see, based on your own sensitivities, your predispositions and intuition. The forty-something Japanese painter (Milanese by adoption) is aware of this and avoids leaving marks which could induce the observer to a perception of conclusion in the painting which, on the contrary, remains open, alive, and thus changeable, precisely like our perceptions.
It is not just chance that exhibitions of maestro Matsuyama’s works are accompanied by sounds (music written by other artists and inspired by the paintings, but also the painter is inspired by the sounds) or by perfumes or aromas composed by Matsuyama.
Matsuyama’s belief seems to be to live: the rapport with the present along with the awareness of the past because nothing is static and everything is transformed through constant movement, in fact of sound, rather than of essence or time. His pieces tend to represent, as correctly proposed by Enzo De Martino, “visibly the multiple meanings of [sound] that the ideogram (Shin-On) has in Japanese writing and culture”.
From Matsuyama’s palette works with intense meaning spring forth: “the sound of the heart”, “the new sound”, “the true sound”, “the sound which grows”, “the discreet sound”, “the sound of the woods”, “the fluctuating sound”, “the sound which advances”. All dynamic evocations, although calm and discreet transformations for the active participation of the observer-listener to grasp certain changeable mutations. In order to do this, Shuhei Matsuyama does not hesitate to use plaster, chalk, color and Japanese paper. Thanks to the particular fiber of this latter, once placed over treated surfaces, it now permits to filter through its texture, and now it captures and compresses beneath its weight the material and color, producing aesthetically pleasant chromatic effects. Given this knowledgeable use of rice paper, it can be considered not only simply the color, or raw material for the production of the work, but also an essential element for the revelation of the final image. In this way, it highlights its centuries-old Japanese use of attributing symbols to the material and symbolism connected to the spirit and to our most hidden self. The effect is, as I said, in its entirety, quite pleasant also because the unusual quantity of color and materials and different overlapping create effects of penetration or agglomeration – troughs and ridges – which offer a wide variety of tonalities depending on the intensity and nature of the light which falls on the painting.

by Silvia A. Ippoliti