GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Oscar Oiwa, a Brazilian artist born in 1965 in São Paulo who has spent years in Japan and New York, will go down in history as the artist who created the Montreux Jazz Festival poster the year the MJF’s founder, Claude Nobs died, but there is nothing somber about the artwork.
His delightfully busy naive style “paint jam” for the 2013 poster, is the result of an encounter last November in Kawasaki, Japan, says the festival. Nobs, Mathieu Jaton (named festival director after Nob’s death 10 January) and their musician friend Seigen Ono were talking about this year’s poster and Ono suggested Oiwa.
“Sadly, Claude never saw the poster, but one thing is certain: in this painted jam, he would have pulled out his harmonica to join right in!” the festival office says.
Oiwa’s works are in a number of museum permanent collections, including the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo and the Phoenix Museum of Art, in Arizona in the US. He has won numerous awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2001 and an Asian Cultural Council Fellowship in 2001.
He had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo in 2008 and in 2014 he will have a solo show at the MASP-Museu de Arte de São Paulo, which is scheduled to travel to several Brazilian cities.
Oiwa says of his poster: “My idea was to have musicians of different ages and cultural backgrounds play together in a summer sunset. The abstract landscape represents a mountain with vineyards and a lake. Light is shown coming from all directions, despite the shadows in the center. The characters are depicted in a style that comes from an area in Northeast Brazil (my home country) named Caruaru, where local people make small figurines using clay.”
Of Nobs, he notes: “Unfortunately the visionary man never saw the finished painting and I never met him, but I believe his soul is well represented in this poster.”