邦楽2.0: “Hogaku 2.0” by Yukihiro ATSUMI

yukihiro-atsumi

“The groove of Japanese court music draws the shape of the figure eight “8”, while Jazz groove draws the shape of oval. Storing a sound and put it down.”

Yukihiro ATSUMI, a Japanese guitarist said.

Each type of music has a specific formula, kata (型)in Japanese. ATSUMI has moved his base to Kyoto from Tokyo three years ago, in order to learn and analyze such formula of Japanese court music and he there systemized next generation of Japanese music = “Hogaku 2.0” by hoping that it will be a good entry point for the classics.

The new method of Japanese music generated from “Hogaku 2.0″ is used in his recently released album called “Japanese Guitar Song Book”. The album includes cover songs from the period of Nara, Edo, Meiji, Showa, Heisei and newly composed by Atsumi himself, played only with guitar.

Covered songs collected in the album sound new and original, but nostalgic feeling is attached to it.

How do you find it?

If you are interested in the album, you can download the album from this link.

and

His Japanese guitar song book playlist is available on Youtube.

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Portrait of ‘Emptiness’

When I saw the painting  I felt like there is another world expanding behind the yellow light and  I could go deeper into it.

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It was at Jun Fukukawa‘s solo exhibition held at Void+ in Aoyama from Oct 7 to 21.  In the gallery, he exhibited only a few selected pieces that portrayed his inspiration from the poem of FUJIWARA no Teika.  The tile of the exhibition was named out of the poem.

“見渡せば花ももみぢもなかりけり浦の苫屋の秋のゆふぐれ”

“There are no flowers or autumn leaves around, but heart moves with sadness when viewing small cottage bathed in autumn sunset”

The poem connotes that even after the beauty falls, there still some kind of beauty exists within the empty loneliness.

Fukukawa interpreted that this poem depicted ‘Shikisokuzeku (色即是空)’, which is a concept of Buddhism meaning that very form in reality is empty. Any forms or visible things won’t stay as they are and changing the form in every second, therefore, the situation that looks empty at one time is not really so. On the contrary, what looks empty is energy that is continuously creating those forms.

Fukukawa was interested in  Teika’s approach in his poem to capture this ’emptiness=eternal truth’ existing in the dualism of two completely different sceneries aesthetic and loneliness. He purposed  to capture the essence and visualize it in his picture by using a composition of small panels.

panels

198cm x 198 cm sized picture is composed by multiple panels painted firstly with acrylic paint and then repainted with a pastel crayon. Although each panel has a different tone and nuance of yellow colour, after combined, it casted one integrated warm glow. Its calm appearance made me feel embraced and relieved.

If I am asked what wabi-sabi means to me,  I would answer it is like a shadow in mind that one cannot get rid of (This is only my personal interpretation so that please do not take as a general definition). If the shadow is something what Fukukawa portrayed in his picture, I think it would be a great consolation.

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About Jun Fukukawa:

Painter. After graduated from Seijo University, he moved to France in 1991. He made his debut at salon saga découverte 94 at Paris art fair fiac, represented by galarie Alain Veinstein. After 7 years stay in Paris, he returned to Japan. Since then, he has continued his distinguished expression as a painter. He is also active as a saxophone player, mainly collaborating with upcoming Norwegian musicians of improvised music.

If you want to know more about his work, please visit Jun Fukukawa

蓬莱山:Hōrai-san – A Vision of Utopia

蓬莱山文様小袖

Via 着物作家の笑える日々

For celebrating festivities or a moment of wishing good fortune and be superstitious, we have a tradition in Japan to use crafts and wear things like Kimono, which certain patterns so called Kisshō-Monyō (吉祥文様) – auspicious omens motives are applied. Beginning of new year is one of such moments.

There are several motives inspired by living creatures, such as fishes, animals, birds, plants, flowers and fruits, or tools used in a festivities. Living creatures such as dragon, phenix, crane or pine, bamboo, plum and more, often symbolize long lives, good harvest, blessing of rains, eternal love. These pattens are used as a motif of porcelains, lacquer wears or clothes (becomes kimono and obi).

Monyou coral

Monyou Dragon fly

It is unfortunate that the custom has been disappearing and it is not at least something we proactively enjoy in our lives.  We only see it in the formalized traditional events without paying too much attentions.

There are many kinds of particular patterns used for celebrating festivities but I would like to pick up a pattern called Hōrai-mon (蓬莱文) this time.

The concept of Hōraisan(蓬莱山) came from China. From 2500 years ago, people believed that there is a utopia island in the eastern see of China. Hōrai mountain is on the island where a legendary wizard lives who is no aging nor death. Hōrai mountain was also believed as high so to extend to the heaven. At the bottom of the mountain, there is a river where dragons live. On the top of the mountain, phenix that can climb to the heaven lives by eating peaches and peers.

houraisan Taikan Yokoyama

Hōraisan by Taikan Yokohama

Interestingly, at the era of the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty (秦始皇帝, BC259~), Hōraisan –  a utopia island was believed to be located where Japan is. The record said that the First Emperor of the Qin sent people to the island in far east to investigate the Utopia and there are more than 10 places that the Qin’s messengers visited in Japan from the north to the south.

Hōraisan that symbolize immortality evolved to be one of auspicious omens motives. Today we can find Hōraisan pattern in crafts, architectures, garden, paintings and fairly tales.

蓬莱図

Houraisan Kimono

Hōraisan-mon consists pine trees, cranes, turtles and plum blossoms – those are all considered as auspicious. Hōrai mountain is built on the carapace of a turtle. it is therefore, even if one tries to capture the Utopia, it runs away quickly so that one can never be able to acquire it.

Cai Guo-Qiang’s Penglai/Hōrai at Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2015

In the centre pond of Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art / KINARE, a huge mountain was exhibited till September 27, 2015.

This mountain is the artwork, Penglai / Hōrai, by Cai Guo-Qiang (蔡國強),  an internationally acclaimed Chinese comtemporary artist. You may know him as a Creative director for the opening and closing ceremony of Beijing Olympics in 2008.

The theme of this dynamic installation is, as you can guess from the title of the artwork – Penglai/Hōrai, the legendary utopia island.

It is only a month from now to unveil the impressive solo exhibition “Cai Guo-Qiang : Penglai/Horai”.

Horaisan by Cai Guo-Qiang

Cali expressed humour and ironies in this installation by responding the recent source of tension around ‘islands’ among countries in East Asia. From the front, the island is covered by rich greenery trees and thousands of straw-made birds and objects are laid around the island. But going around the back,  one realizes that the island is just like a standing signboard.

Behind the Utopia

People dream of a Utopia. It is the same now as of old.  But if we are tenacious in our pursuit of capturing it, we will only get lost. Remember! a Utopia is on the carapace of a turtle! It just agilely escape and you may lose even a illusion of Utopia completely from your mind.

 

 

Happy New Year 2016

Wishing you a Happy New Year with the hope that you will have many blessings and your creative dreams come true in 2016.

Monkey with sun rise

Thank you all for visiting my blog and see you soon in 2016 with new contents in Takumist.

 

九谷焼:Kutani ware – New wave

I had a chance to meet with a young talented artist, Mai Kitai (北井真衣) from Kanazawa.   She makes Kutani porcelain by using the technic inspired by Mokubei Aoki, who is a porcelain artist back in 17th Century and was brought to Kutani to re-established Kutani ware.

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“I have heard that Kutani porcelains use motives from a slice of daily life, that inspired me” – Mai Kitai

What I was most interested was her unique themes and motifs. Working woman on her way to the office, two business men exchanging a business card, a girl applying a mascara sitting down on a bench at a part…… A slice of our modern life is drawn in her own nonchalant touches. Those scenes seem so familiar and provoke laughter.

The below pictures are only some example of teacups. The price for one cut is 8,000 yen (excluding tax).

I am keen to see how her work will evolve. I am sure her style will attract new segment of people to the world of Kutani ware.

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About Mai Kitai: 

Born in 1985 in kanazawa. Ceramic artist. After graduated from Kanazawa Kogyo University in 2008, she decided to pursue her career as a ceramic artist.  She graduated from Kanazawa college of art and gained a master degree in 2015.  She selects what she feels and observes in the modern daily life as a theme for her work. Once the theme is applied to her work,   the familiar everyday life  becomes unusual. She wants to express this transformation into a form of commodity products.

If you are interested in her work;

下町芸術祭(http://www.shinnagata-artcommons.com/#!kitai/cbo1)

Kokoshi cafe (http://kokoshi-cafe.com/?mode=grp&gid=957512)

 

九谷焼:Kutani ware

Kutani ware is one of the greatest of Japanese porcelains.

青手牡丹図

Kokutani

The style is said to be started in 1655 in Kutani (九谷)region, which is in the current Kaga city in Ishikawa prefecture. After 50 years its existence, it disappeared once from the front stage of porcelains’ world.  The reasons remain mystery even today.  In 1807, only 80 years later, Kokutani was re-established when the domain of Kaga that governed the region that time, brought Mokubei Aoki, a porcelain artist, from Kyoto and opened a kiln.

However, the history of Kokutani had never been easy. During the period of 1940-1960s, the origin of Kokutani ware was challenged. Some started doubting that the origin was not from Kutani region, but from Arita region, where is still one of the most important home of porcelains.  Fragments of a china plate with the similar style as Kutani were found in Arita region, while the fragments found in Kutani region were different from Kokutani in it style. After 1987, the development of scientific research methods could identify a type of clay, form and tone. The research results concluded that Kokutani ware could be made in the current Okayama region in 1640-1650, but similar style of fragments were recently found in Kutani area and the origin still remains as a mystery.

Its most outstanding characteristic is the multicolored ceramics painting. There are two different kinds of painting. One is called ‘Gosaite (五彩手)’, which is named from its characteristics of using five colors of red, yellow, green, purple and navy. Gaussian often draw beauty of nature, landscape, or people’s life. Its bold and well composed pictures create an exquisite harmony on white porcelain.

Gosaite

Via: 九谷焼百話

Another style is called ‘Aote(青手)’. It uses deep colours of green, yellow and purple but no use of red. Aote style paints an entire surface of a porcelain by the similar touch and rich colour of oil painting. The thickness of the paint gives a dynamic three-dimensional effect. It is as though birds and flowers drawn were about fly out of the porcelain.

Aote

via 一生一石:青手古九谷の謎