Space and time are the focus of Hiroyuki Masuyama’s art. He condenses these complex concepts with methodic detailed work into sensual compositions. These compositions play with the viewer's perception, leading them to a world that can be circumnavigated through a blink / a meadow blooming in spring, summer and autumn flowers blossoming besides snowy grass / the works of the famous epoch-makers of art history regroup in the temporal reality of their residing. As a good method, in order to realise this, the artist calls this traveling…. A method that keeps with the meaning of the word diversity.
Masuyama was born in Tsukuba, Japan, in 1968. Masuyama studied painting and mural painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Music in Tokyo from 1987 to 1993. As a DAAD scholarship holder, in 1995 Masuyama went to the Art Academy of Dusseldorf, and changed his studies in 1999 into studying media art at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. It was here that Masuyama availed his early compositions of both photography and video art. In the series "Family Portrait" and "Park" the ringing of his alternatives to design was first heard, which would later become a key characteristic of the Japanese artist’s work. In these works, the subject of family manifolds with the impresses of time and space. An observer walks in a park that changes step by step with the seasonal changes. The artist had photographed, over the period of one year, a plant in Dusseldorf and put together these numerous shots into a single video. Centrally located yet irritating, the juxtaposition of different times were culminating in one place.
Researching simultaneity led the artist in 2002 to set off on his first major trip: The series "Flight", was where Masuyama had boarded a plane, flew completely around the earth and made every 20 seconds of that journey a photo. As a result, a 27 meters in length panoramic view of the world came into being. In this work, hundreds of different locations are at the same time perceivable by the viewer. In 2013, The Kunsthalle Emden showed these works. The works were presented with LED light boxes circling the entire room; around the World in The World. Pacing the room, the artist’s illuminated photographs presented a source of being able to circumnavigate the globe in his very personal way.
From the air, Masuyama targeted his next subject, mountains. Masuyama put together fragments of a variety of shots to create new mountain formations with light boxes, and with this, a new kind of constructed simultaneity came to realization. Furthermore, Masuyama explored in this way the possibilities of digital photography in the tension between art and reality. An impressive work to watch was at the factory "Matterhorn", in 2006, "In the Alps", an exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zurich.
Masuyama’s initial interest in the changing of seasons led him to visit a flower meadow, where he made another addition to his art. For the series "flowers", Masuyama combined together numerous years’ worth of his recordings and fragments, which became time comprehensive compositions. In 2011, The Kunsthalle Gießen showed this monumental work. Here heat and cold-loving plants romp in the face of frost and sunshine. The same concept is seen in a further series of works based on "Sakura and Magnoria"; here, however, trees are the central object of condensed time.
To broaden his artistic scope, the artist went one step further: The compression of space and time expressed through a cultural and scenic component, gained from the study of works of art history. Masuyama, a 21st century traveller, followed the paths of the romantic travellers Caspar David Friedrich and Joseph Mallord William Turner. During this time, Masuyama was looking for places of similar expressiveness that the romantics had found. He used his conventional procedure of assembling the fragments of the resulting photographs, that he had formed in the picturesque places of the paintings of the masters; resulting in intertemporal works. " For me, what is fascinating in Masuyama’s work, is the combination of the traditional subject variety with the modern technique." writes Catherine Being-Wittgenstein in Art Magazine, in 2007. Here she is describing the work “The Wreck of Hope” at the collection of the Hamburger Kunsthalle. The method of travelling connects the romantics with their contemporaries. In an artistic process, pieces of reality are put together and used for the artist’s own version of reality; Friedrich and Turner worked from sketches, Masuyama uses photographs. The LED light boxes, in which the photographs were presented with, contributed specifically to the expressiveness of Masuyama’s scenic photo art. Light was also a very important factor in the romantic paintings, as light transformed novel compositions to shine in the splendour of the 21st century. This can be experienced eloquently when considering the work "Greifswald port 1820", in the Städel Museum.
Masuyama developed an interesting variation of his construction method when visiting the Italian city, Cava de 'Tirreni, in 2012. The resulting series was multiple digital print displays overlapping images of the ancient artists’ town. The idea of the "tempus fugit" that resonates in the oeuvre of the Japanese, prompted the artist in 2011 to go into the world of still lifes. In style of this characteristic, he first allowed the flower paintings of old Dutch masters, such as Jan Seghers, to bloom again, before turning to the works of Albrecht Dürer and Leonardo Da Vinci.
After processing locations around the world, of the past, of the present and the future, in 2009 Masuyama ventured into a new adventure: The approach of extra-terrestrials expressed in a down to earth way. The artist created a sphere made of cherry wood riddled with holes, which upon entering, one can feel like they are in a star clock. The holes in the wood represent the stars, precisely transferred from stellar maps. The exhibition "Skyward", at the museum Sinclair House, is currently showing further works with this milieu. A structure made of fiberglass and wood showing the Milky Way, a giant lightbox containing the sun in resin and acrylic paints that inflames itself.