In the exhibition My Primal Memory, Nao Matsunaga responds to his ideas and experiences of dual cultural and national identity, reflecting on his formative years growing up in Japan, and the latter part of his childhood in England. Although this is a deeply personal investigation, his work references ancient universal themes concerning the human condition.
…as people, we haven’t really changed at all over thousands of years, the way we interact, think and feel is still the same, even though the tools we use have changed.
By creating work using primal materials and tools, he connects on an emotional level with cultures from eras past, suggesting that there are certain constants in human behaviour that have not, and will not, change. With a sense of longing for a solid identity, Matsunaga attempts to find his way through the two cultures that make up his personality; responding to subconscious, primal drives in order to find a unifying whole.
Nao Matsunaga was born in Osaka in 1980, graduating with an MA in Ceramics and Glass from the Royal College of Art (2005–7) and he has exhibited internationally ever since. He has been presented with various awards and scholarships, such as the Jerwood Makers Open 2012, Cove Park Residency, the Anglo-Sweden Society Bursary and the Leverhume Trust’s grant. His works are in the public collection of the Crafts Council. Matsunaga is represented by Marsden Woo Gallery, London.