Exhibit revisits Yutaka Toyota’s involvement in the international kinetic movement and his pioneering role in Brazil’s interactive art

Previously shown in Rio de Janeiro, where it drew critics’ attention and was a great success with the public too, TOYOTA - The Rhythm of Space will be at our Brazilian Art Museum (MAB FAAP) from June 16th.

Denise Mattar’s curatorial design revisits some 80 of Toyota’s works from including a recreation of his immersive installation Quarto Escuro [dark room] made for the 10th São Paulo Biennial in the 1960s - through award winning pieces for the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo (MAM-SP) Panorama exhibition in the 1970s.

There are also loans from collections of institutions such as Museum of Contemporary Art of Niterói (MAC), Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro (MAM-RJ), Palácio Itamaraty, Roberto Marinho Collection and major private collections. The historical section includes Alair Gomes’ photographic review of Toyota’s oeuvre.

Visitors will also be able to view panels from public works made in Brazil and Japan from 1980 through 2010, as well as recent large sculptures made especially for the exhibition.
The choice of MAB FAAP for the exhibit’s São Paulo venue reflects the institution’s longstanding partnership with Toyota, whose monumental pieces on our campus are part of students’ everyday lives. By coincidence, this exhibit is showing here in the same month as the 110th anniversary of the arrival of Brazil’s first Japanese immigrant.

Artistic career

In 1969, Toyota’s works for the 10th São Paulo Biennial were among those that prompted most commentary and won most awards: visitors were invited to interact and there was an installation of a type that nowadays would be described as "immersive". Having attracted the attention of public and critics, Yutaka spent three years in Italy showing at some of the most emblematic kinetic art exhibitions together with Lucio Fontana, Bruno Munari, Vasarely and Le Parc.

Toyota was born in Japan in 1931 and came to Brazil in the late 1950s before becoming a Brazilian citizen in 1971. Starting his career as a painter he soon won some of the most important awards here, including the Esso Salon at Rio de Janeiro’s Museum of Modern Art (MAM-RJ) in 1965, which led to his Italian sojourn. Then he turned to sculptures that took on the same optic, kinetic and immersive characteristics as his current work. Aged 86, Toyota is still highly creative and energetic. He is one of the few Brazilian sculptors to have mastered the scale/space ratio, an essential aspect of outdoor works. It is not by chance that he has had over 100 public works commissioned in Brazil and Japan over the years.