Originated in China, ink art has become not only the cultural code of Asia but also the symbol of Eastern aesthetics. Deeply influenced by Chinese painting, Japanese ink art began in the Kamakura Era (1185-1333). From postwar to contemporary, “Back to Originality and Simplicity” introduces the development of Japanese contemporary ink art. The common characteristics of works from these periods are the abandonment of heavy color and figurative landscape. Breaking the tradition by its effect of shadow, the simple line and brushstroke of ink create an abstract space reflecting on Japanese aesthetics.

PART II of the exhibition includes: as one of the representatives of Japanese GUTAI group, Kazuo SHIRAGA spread paints with his feet and became the pioneer of action painting in Japan. Combining materiality and spirituality, Yasuo SUMI returned to the original aspiration of humanity; Shozo SHIMAMOTO was another key figure of Japanese GUTAI group who had given up the technique of traditional ink painting to explore the necessity of spontaneity. Inspired by the vitality of nature, the pure abstractions are fully expressed in the arts of Shiho FUJIWARA. The technique of erasing-print by Kiro UEHARA has constructed composition of space, flowing objects and repetitive consciousness. Rogen EBIHARA’s dedication to ink and calligraphy allows him to blend his imagination with ink, creating a sense of refreshingly soft poetry. In search of world peace, the soul of Yuuna OKANISHI is sincerely reflected in her ink works. The silver lines in her new series “Blue Song” act as a representation of shark which swims gracefully in the ocean, expressing the importance of animal and environmental protection. Detailed yet bold, the black and white works of Yu KAWASHIMA have built a sense of modernity through his exquisite use of line and space.

Further developed from the core of Part 1, what we see in the diversity of exhibited artworks is the combination of purity, contemporaneity and internationality in the sequence of ideas in Japanese contemporary Ink art.

Represented artists:
Kazuo Shiraga, Yasuo Sumi, Shozo Shimamoto, Shiho Fujiwara, Kiro Uehara, Rogen Ebihara, Yuuna Okanishi, Yu Kawashima