Chie Matsui|Pictures and Their Friends – Between Curtains

Dates|January 7 – 29, 2023
Venue|MEM map
Hours|13:00 – 19:00
The gallery is closed on Mondays that are not national holidays. (Except when Monday falls on a holiday, in which case the gallery is open and closed the following day.)


Chie Matsui graduated from the Kyoto City University of Arts, Graduate School of Arts and has been creating installations since the 1980s. Her works have been widely exhibited in Japan and abroad. Since 2000, she has been creating video works, like her Heidi series, and has continued to produce drawings that complement her installations and video works.

Makuai, the exhibition title, has been translated as Between Curtains. The term refers to the pause between scenes of a play or the offstage space hidden from the viewer. It is in this way that Matsui takes up her drawing implements; she draws in that pause between the end of the day and the next, in that interval between occurrences. She draws as if to catch her breath in that intermission between emotions, in that space between changes.

MEM is proud to present Matsui’s new pastel drawings exhibited alongside her older works from the 1990s onwards, allowing viewers to see what she creates “between curtains.”

Pictures and Their Friends – Between Curtains


Amid this generation’s digital deluge of moving and static images, several types of “pictures” have materialized, mutually influencing each other. For nearly eight years, I have drawn something on paper at the end of every day. Without realizing it, this ritual has become a daily reset of my perception of visual images.

During this period, the scope of the internet has not only widened, but the types of transmission have also increased, making various configurations and profundities visible. The internet lulls us into an illusion that the visualization of the world is possible. And yet it is impossible to see the whole picture. It is constantly in metamorphosis; some are like insatiable parasitic caterpillar fungi, while some seek a more serene symbiosis. And most of the time, individual expressions, anonymous and delicate, drift about, tied together by weak threads.

The thread of the spider, loyal to divine providence, does not exist in the world wide web.

If you were to follow the flow of water deep underground, you would find that the water of subterranean lakes is frighteningly clear and beautiful, and the tiny creatures that inhabit it do not have eyes, existing in a state of utter darkness. When my life of coexistence with the internet becomes disharmonious, I often descend into a deep cave, a world where wide-open eyes cannot perceive the sun’s midday rays. I turn my face upwards and look out the window. It is certain that earthbound seasons and clocks are changing and ticking, and the blue of summer skies are being captured in nostalgic photos. The changing light plays out before my eyes, and in front of me are my chosen paints. The light and paints hold an intimate relationship. These colors are applied by hand onto beautiful white paper. As my eyes gradually open, my hand tries to emerge from the subterranean water system where the timescales of the internet converge, searching for a narrow channel back to the surface.

Upon emerging to the surface through various channels, I wonder what aspect of the world is on offer today. Things happen every day, and they exist in parallel inside the image. The scenes of countless exhibitions, incidents filled with suffering, peaceful scenes, and threats of disaster and conflict are all detached from my life and history and itemized in a list. And it is all I can do to look at that list. My depth perception does not function as objectively as it once did.

It is challenging to keep an appropriate distance when psychological battles are being waged all over the place, involving such a tricky thing called “emotion.”

A fresh breeze is blowing today as I draw a line with the pencil in my hand so that I can rise to the surface again. When the paper doesn’t wait for me to get my paint out, I take a deep breath before my breathing becomes labored, and next, I choose a color. I try pastel red and greyish green. My breathing has become more difficult in the past few years. How has my body changed? Or is it still the same? I decided to arrange my “paintings,” some composed in the middle of my breath and others composed after fully exhaling, from my most recent and older works from the period I was making video works.

November 20, 2022

Chie Matsui

 Ms. Piece: instagram

Picture (and its Friends): note (Japanese text only)

    Chie Matsui: instagram

【Concurrently Held】

Passport to Shangri-la

Dates|October 22, 2022 – January 29, 2023
Venue|The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama

The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama will present works by Kansetsu Hashimoto from its collection with Shōrenmaru, To the West, an installation of painting, three-dimensional figures, and sound. The exhibition title is derived from the work of Chie Matsui.
The museum will screen a series of video works by Matsui during the exhibition and hold artist talks between or after screens. Details of the program will be announced later on the museum’s website.

Chie Matsui’s video work screening
Dates: January 14, Saturday, and January 15, Sunday
Location: The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Second Floor Auditorium
Capacity: each day, 60 people (guests are free to enter and exit during the screening)
The event is free of charge

Artist talks
January 14, Saturday – Chie Matsui and Azusa Hashimoto (Senior Researcher, The National Museum of Art, Osaka)
January 14, Saturday – Chie Matsui and Shinya Takahashi (General Manager, Project Planning and Promotion Office, Kyocera Museum of Art, Kyoto)
January 15, Sunday – Chie Matsui and Akira Tatehata (Director, The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama)

Passport to Shangri-la Installation view

Trailer : Chie Matsui video works