Nao Matsunaga

Finalist in 2011 for Ceramics

Matsunaga’s practice is inspired by Neolithic and modern architecture and the ways people interact with it, which he interprets in a variety of forms, from installations to clay sculpture. He is interested in creating and capturing a sense of movement within still objects, and achieving a balance between rawness and control, stillness and movement, is central to his art.

As artist in residence in Sweden Matsunaga created the installation, This Place is Made of Rocks. “I found that Stockholm was a kind of utopia – a city built on socialist ideology and that it was made up of seven or eight rocks big enough to be islands. I was brought up in Japan where haphazard cityscape is as common as the earthquakes that hit the islands. Most buildings are constructed in wood and fire was a common hazard. This creates the sense that things are built, destroyed and built again. In contrast, Stockholm is hard, stable, immovable, solid and creates a physically and psychologically strong foundation on which to build a society. This is what inspired my installation.”

As well as working as a ceramist, Matsunaga is an exhibition consultant for the Victoria and Albert Museum, among others, as well as a site and tent installer for Cirque du Soleil. He also teaches children with behavioural problems.