Exhibition_English_2023 MASAYUKI MURAI: A Retrospective

MASAYUKI MURAI: A Retrospective

'Blue Eternity, Engraving History'

On View: Dec. 2, 2023 – Feb. 25, 2024

Closed: Monday (Open on Jan. 8, Feb.12, closed on Jan. 9, Feb. 13), Dec. 29 – Jan. 5

Hours: 10am-5pm (Last Entry is at 4:30pm)
Organized by: Sato Sakura Museum

Supported by: Meguro Tourism Association

Location: 1-7-13 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Artist Talk Dates & Time:
Sat. Dec. 2, 2pm-3pm | Sat. Jan. 13, 2pm-3pm | Sat. Feb. 3, 2pm-3pm

Sato Sakura Museum is proud to present the special exhibition “The World of Masayuki Murai – Blue Eternity, Engraving History”. The Japanese painter Masayuki Murai is one of the most prominent artists of the contemporary Nihonga painting scene. Masayuki Murai was born in Kyoto Prefecture in 1947. After graduating from Hiyoshigaoka High School in Kyoto, he entered the Seitosha Painting School in 1968, where he studied under Yoson Ikeda and Michio Ikeda. In 1971, he was selected for the 3rd Nitten Exhibition. He exhibited his works primarily at Seitosha and Nitten exhibitions, and his talent was quickly recognized. Currently, he is the director of the Nitten Exhibition and a member of the Japan Art Academy, dedicating himself to training the next generation at Osaka University of Arts and Kanazawa College of Art.
This exhibition presents the “Greece Series” that Masayuki Murai has been working on since 1992 to the present, spanning some 30 years. Of all the natural mineral pigments, Masayuki Murai is particularly fascinated by ultramarine, and from that color came his unique deep blue coloration which has been described as “blue ink painting”. Enjoy various works filled with the emotional essence of the ruins and architecture of Greek civilization, depicting a blue world that transcends eternity.

Artist's Message

In 1979, I visited Greece for the first time during a sketching trip to Europe. I remember being strongly influenced by the 3,500 year old wall paintings excavated on the island of Santorini, which I encountered in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. It was not until 1992, when I revisited Greece and explored the major historical districts and islands, that I began to seriously develop art on the subject of Ancient Greece. I continued to sketch the stark contrasts of the white walls and the azure sea, the light of dawn and the darkness of night, and then began to express these visual experiences as paintings in a single color – ultramarine.
However, instead of merely capturing the scenery in front of me, I sought to express even the invisible particles of air that enveloped the ancient temples that had stood there since B.C. While creating my art, I worried about how to express in painting the wonderful sensation created by the resonance between the beauty of the subject and the aesthetic sense in my heart.
I am very pleased to exhibit about 30 years of work all together with this exhibition. The path of Nihonga painting that I am striving toward continues endlessly. Keeping in mind that I am still only in the midst of realizing my dream, I will continue to strive diligently. I humbly request your continued guidance and encouragement in the future.
Masayuki Murai
Masayuki Murai C.V.

1947: Born in Kyoto Prefecture
1966: Graduated from Kyoto Municipal Hiyoshigaoka High School, Fine Arts Course, Nihonga Branch
1968: Joined Seitosha, studied under Yoson Ikeda
1971: 16th Seitosha Exhibition, won Kyoto Prefecture Governor’s Award (’74, ’75)
1972: 7th Nissyunten Exhibition, won Encouragement Award (’74)
1973: 25th Kyoten Exhibition, won Red Award 1975: 7th Nitten Exhibition, Special Selection (’90)
1977: Worked with Shigeki Murata to prepare and apply gold leaf to the Diamond Realm Mandala and the Womb Realm Mandala in the Kitamukizan Fudoin Temple, Kyoto.
1989: Appointed as a part-time lecturer at Okayama University, Faculty of Education (left March 2005)
1990: Became a member of Nissyunten Exhibition Association
1996: Served as a director along with invited artists at the 2nd Kyoto Nihonga Artists Association Emerging Artists Selection Exhibition
1999: 34th Nissyunten Exhibition, won Membership Award
2000: Received the Medal with Blue Ribbon (’05, ’13)
2001: Appointed as a non-permanent lecturer at Okayama University Graduate School of Education
2004: Created artwork for the Olympic commemorative postage stamp, featuring Olympia and the Parthenon Temple
2005: Became a Nitten Counselor and a member of the Nissyunten Exhibition Association Management Committee (until closure in 2015)
2006: Appointed as a visiting professor at Osaka University of Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts
2008: Appointed as a professor at Osaka University of Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts 2014: Appointed as the head of the Department of Fine Arts at Osaka University of Arts
2016: Elected as a management committee member at the founding general meeting of Shin- Nissyunten Exhibition Association
2018: 5th Nitten Exhibition, won Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Award
2020: Awarded the Culture Award by Dr. Lin Tsung-i Foundation (Taiwan) Awarded the Reiwa 1st Year 76th Japan Art Academy Prize, Imperial Prize Appointed as a member of the Japan Art Academy
2022: 55th year in painting. Japan Art Academy Membership Inauguration Memorial Exhibition titled “Masayuki Murai Art Exhibition ~ Carving History, The Brilliance of Nihonga ~” held.

Current: Member of Japan Art Academy, Director of Nitten PIIA, Director of Shin- Nissyunten Exhibition Association, Professor and Head of Department of Fine Arts at Osaka University of Arts, Visiting Professor at Kanazawa College of Art
Masayuki Murai 'Moonlight' 2016
Masayuki Murai 'Glowing Night' 2002
Masayuki Murai 'Eternity' 2021
Masayuki Murai 'Glow' 2015
Masayuki Murai 'Reflection' 2012
Masayuki Murai 'Meteora' 2001
Masayuki Murai 'Dawn in Lindos' 1998
Masayuki Murai 'Santorini' 1993
Masayuki Murai 'White Church' 1992
Masayuki Murai 'Light' 2011
Masayuki Murai 'Moon over Acropolis' 2005

Artwork List

※There are no rooms showcasing cherry blossoms in this exhibition.
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■Online Viewing Room: Click here

■Admission (tax included)
・General: 800 Yen
・Students (University | High school): 300 Yen
・Students (Junior High School | Elementary School) : Free

※Tax included
※Elementary school student must be accompanied by a parent or guardian
※Admission is half-price for visitors with a disability certificate

Sato Sakura Museum
1-7-13 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo