See works of the exhibition "SHIKANSUIYO – THE HUNDRED YEAR FOREST AND ART” at the Meiji Jingu Museum. The artists have prepared their works with particular thought for the shrine and its sacred forests. Here introduce of the works the traditional Japanese forms of Folding Fan.［Exhibition Information］Date: July 10 (Fri) – September 27 (Sun), 2020. Venue: Meiji Jingu Museum
About “Shikansuiyo - Art and the Hundred Year Forest”
The literal meaning of the expression “shikansuiyo” (紫幹翠葉) is “purple trunk, green leaves”, but it is used to refer to a beautiful scene from nature. Since prehistoric times, the Japanese people have prayed in thanks to the spirits of the mountains and forests, and that attitude forms the basis of the traditional Japanese relationship with nature. And it is not only in the symbolic Mt. Fuji or cherry blossom that beauty is to be found, but in the humble everyday nature of rice fields, wild flowers and birds, as well.For this exhibition, the forty participating artists have prepared their works with particular thought for the shrine and its sacred forests, and with a passion, awe and respect for nature and our daily lives. The media chosen for their works are the traditional Japanese forms of folding screens, hanging scrolls, partition screens (paintings) and folding fans. A centerpiece of the show is the fan-shaped paintings exhibited together along one wall, which were commissioned from thirty contemporary artists, renowned for both their skill and talent.
Mariko Asayama "koizakura"
Mariko Asayama has worked as a mountain photographer, but due to her specialized knowledge of gardening she was commissioned to photograph Meiji Jingu Forest. The forest contains 36 thousand trees of 234 varieties, and almost three thousand varieties of animals and insects, but through her eyes the photographs show us animals and plants that other people would not notice. They work is made up of three images chosen from those taken over the course of a year. A solo exhibition will be held in the Picture Gallery in the autumn.
Takanori Ishizuka "Men Carrying Trees"
Takanori Ishizuka makes drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations of cute animals characters made of things and events that cannot be seen. His works are interwoven with comical, eccentric animals are highly prized around the world. Ishizuka was surprised by a photograph of the construction of the Meiji Jingu Forest depicting people carrying a large tree. That surprise has been molded into the form of animals carrying a giant tree. The work questions what it means to “make a sacred forest”.
Kaoru Usukubo "the time collector"
With highly skilled descriptive powers as her base, Kaoru Usukubo is a painter who creates images that fall between the lines of the visible and invisible, the real and the unreal. By collaging motifs of things that we cannot encounter in reality she describes a new relationship between things, and gives birth to an alternative reality. In this work the space is divided with color, and forms repeated, creating multiple spaces within the work. The whole is finished in a chic tone, giving the painting the brilliance of a crystal.
Sakae Ozawa "A Wandering Mushroom"
The small animals of the forest, the eternal time that flows there, and the beauty of severity of nature. Sakae Ozawa’s work crystalizes that in a uniquely colored work. The strength of her style grew after her time studying in Vienna. Recent work includes collaborations with writers such as Kaho Nashiki, Kazushi Hosaka and Megumi Fujino, with Ozawa bringing a richness to their work. Putting her thoughts to the 100 year old man-made forest, her fan-shaped painting depicts the forest containing a multitude of stories.
Wataru Ozu "Fans Floating on River"
Wataru Ozu Cretes borrows freely from art styles old and new, from the east and the west. Never being overtaken by one style, and quietly concealing his subject matter, his bold use of color and undiluted color harmonies are reminiscent of the ‘wakonyosai’ (Japanese spirit with Western learning) style of the Meiji period. The floating fan in this work references the Ashikaga Takauji floating fan incident. Conventionally, a fan shows an image over a sequence of time as it is opened, but for this work that expression of time has been achieved in a single image.
Takahiko Kaino " "Kogenkyo" of Jingu Forest"
Takahiko Kaino has worked on series based on repeated geometric patterns, and series that investigates the wellspring of light, and he currently works between Tokyo and Matsuyama. He also works with local area to get people involved in art and create works together with them. The work for this exhibition has been executed with extreme care, and the pure sensitivity that it achieves holds a clean beauty.
Asami Kiyokawa "TRACE"
Asami Kiyokawa is know as an artist who applies embroidery to photographs. For this work, a photograph of the sacred forest is the base, and the beauty of the hundred year old man-made forest in the middle of the city is expressed with embroidery thread, beads and all kinds of other materials delicately applied to the image. Hosokawa’s skillful color use and composition brim over with love and sweet-nature, and one can easily feel the desire to protect the forest into the future. The work projects a strong respect for the Beaty of the Meiji Jingu Forest, protected by people for so many years.
Mami Kosemura "Modiolastrum Lateritium"
This work is a sun print photograph taken during the soft light of the rainy season over the course of a whole day in the artist’s parents garden, which they tender each day. The image obtained appears depending on the strength and concentration of sunlight, and the same image can never be created twice. Perhaps it is that moment of luck and the irreplaceable instant obtained that we treasure. This work reminds us, amid the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, of the aesthetic that has been protected by the sacred forest over one hundred years, and should be protected for another hundred.
Rina Kotani "Rain Dew"
Rather than motifs themselves, Rina Kotani uses the space and information around her, and minute changes in the everyday to inform her paintings. Taking advantage of the inability to mix mineral paints, rather than mixing on the palette she uses pointillism to mix colors on the canvas. So with the same principal as an lcd screen, the colors retain their brightness. This technique resembles the unstoppable stream of consciousness when writing a diary.
Takanobu Kobayashi "Woods"
“Light is what leads me to the condition of experiencing the thing called existence.” These are the words of the artist, Takanobu Kobayashi. This work shows a clearing in the sacred forest. The element of light, so important to the artist, is seen illuminating the scene. Using the forest as a motif for “what can be seen”, or “what has form”, in fact the work describes a different “something” that is beyond our vision.
Aru Sunaga "Drawing a Shadow"
Aru Sunaga’s works use dynamic compositions and bold brush strokes. The artist explains that the origin of her style comes from the memory of the bright yellow of her mother’s apron when she was a child, as well as being enveloped in the shadow of a larger person and having an intense “backlight experience”. Recent works reference the cave in Sesshu’s “Huike Offering His Arm to Bodhidharma”, and paintbrushes that give off light, creating powerful works that lead us to a to see the world in a more positive way.
Nozomi Tanaka "Forest in the Sea"
Nozomi Tanaka’s work looks at how the sacred forest was constructed with a hundred year vision, and using the artist imagination goes beyond time and space to depict the forest far in the future. In the future, as the earth warms even more and much of Japan has sunk into the ocean, what will the eternal forest look like? Perhaps the forest will be at the bottom of a warm ocean inhabited by all kinds of creatures, creating an entirely new kind of coexistence.
Noboru Tsubaki "Google Impressionism 20200630"
This work is based on research into contemporary man’s pure and excessive desire. In 2012, “PH_PH” - an image of a giant farm in the USA based on Google Earth - was exhibited at the Kirishima Open Air Museum, and has grown into the “Google Impressionism” series. This work is part of that series. The artist uses technology at the forefront of our era to create radical works that rewrite the existing history of art.
Manika Nagare "In and About"
The beauty of layered colors, a unique palette and the paint flowing slowly in submission to the earth’s gravity - the pleasure of this painting hits you directly. One of its uniquenesses lies in the fact that the layers of color never mix unintentionally, so the colors remain fresh. The work imitates the “light and color at the boundary of life and death” that the artist has investigated over recent years, expressing how the Meiji Jingu Forest was constructed with two dimensions, the ancient style of rocks and trees in the inner gardens, and the outer gardens born of exposure to the west in the Meiji period.
Chris Namaizawa "Looking Back on Harajuku Days"
The theme of this work is “Man made the forest, and the forest made man.” Hugely influenced by fashion magazines of the 1990s, artist Chris Namaizawa’s image of people filling the canvas depicts ‘the people’s forest’. The work allows you to feel how the multi-cultured contemporary Harajuku and the man-made forest built there of old, overlap and go beyond a particular time.
Taishi Hatayama "The Consciousness of the Forest"
Taishi Hatayama’s works gathered attention due to the minute white brush marks he arranges on the canvas, which came about from this interest in that which is invisible within a scene. From there, he progressed to a brightly colored series that made one think of bouncing light. This work uses a delicate texture to express the atmosphere and presence of the decades-old trees the artist felt when he stepped into the sacred forest. The work expresses the artist’s sense of the power and divinity of nature.
Ken Hamguchi "ELECTRIC PRAYER"
The bold composition and forms of Ken Hamaguchi’s works are his main strength, but the themes too are unique and push us beyond our expectations. Taking inspiration form the shrine, a spiritual home for many Japanese, Hamaguchi chose for his motif the original Japanese fountain of energy, a head of rice, with a sparrow. Electromagnetic waves cutting across the scene create a discomforting presence, but according to the artist this is a harvest prayer for the five grains. The pop, malicious work allows for all kinds of interpretations.
Kodue Hibino "The Forest Moves"
Kozue Hibino is well known for her work as a costume artist in advertising, theatre, dance, ballet, film and TV. Her work for this show has become a fan-shaped leather bag. Hibino says “The civilization and culture man has created will in an instant return to the earth.” Hibino has taken this thought and using the sacred forest has transformed it into a work that resembles a bag.
Bujin HIRAI (H et H) "M3"
This carved motif is an interpretation and reconstruction of Albrecht Durer’s “Melancholia”, a work which fascinates artist Bujin Hirai. Melancholia’s transcendental techniques describe a world built of multiple motifs, allowing for ambiguous interpretation. Here, those motifs layered with fractal-style images create a labyrinth/fractal image, clearly expressing the other-wordiness of the shrine set in the midst of the city.
Kota Hirakawa "Where Do We Come from? Where Are We Going?-Dwelling Place of a God (Mt. Miyanouratake)"
Originally the Japanese believed the gods resided in mountains and rocks, trees and the ocean, and made them the object of worship. Particularly, the worship of large rocks is found across the country. In this work, Kota Hirakawa paints a place he found while mountain climbing that he felt was a place for the gods, and he depicts a characters that connect nature and man. And in addition, it is a bird’s-eye view of Meiji Shrine. In the same way that you can find nature worship in Chojugiga animal cartoons or Chinese-style Sansuiga landscape paintings, the work makes us think on contemporary society’s relationship with nature.
Aki Fueda "Siberian Bluetail in Meiji Jingu"
Aki Fueda has a deep love for animals and insects, both the frail and the robust, and points them with an extremely sensitive brush. Born in Tokyo, she says she has always felt an affection for Meiji Shrine. This work shows the Meiji Jingu Forest and the skyscrapers of Tokyo, an a single bluetail. The image makes a beautiful contrast between the shining blue bird in the sky above the forest and the city.
Misa Funai "Boundary
Misa Funai is also exhibiting a sculpture in front of the Treasure Museum. Working on the boundaries of two and three dimensions, her work uses as its motif the offerings of sacred horses and ema tablets. For this work, Funai says “The Meiji Jingu Forest is layers of space and time, a symbolic place allowing one to move between the past and the present, from the imaginary world to reality.” Her work is a ‘prayer’ made of layers of past and present pairing styles, empathizing with the people who built the forest 100 years ago, while imagining it in the future. Salvation, and hope for a future we cannot yet see is held within this work.
Masahiro Masuda "Population"
This work uses multiple photographs taken of a period of time, and layered on top of each other using silkscreen. By layering time itself the work creates a strange impression on the viewer. Although the place or object is familiar, it floats in suspension, as though you could not grasp it with your hands. This new image captures an instant in time at the sacred forest.
Kumi Machida "Himorogi"
Kumi Machida paints her subject with ink lines, using traditional Nihonga techniques and Japanese paper, sumi and natural mineral paints with large areas of white space. This work expresses how precious the man-made forest is to the city, and how its survival, too, is in man’s hands. The power of Machida’s work often lies especially in the strength and beauty of the lines, but it should be mentioned that they are not drawn in a single stroke, but rather built up from a multitude fine details, showing how precisely the artist controls the space of the painting.
Atsuhiko Misawa "White Tiger in the Forest"
Since 2000, Atsuhiko Misawa has been creating life-sized sculptures for his “Animals” series, and his life-sized white tiger is currently part of the outdoor sculpture exhibition. Misawa makes drawing as a well as sculptures and this work was born from the artist’s idea of the aura of spirits in the sacred forest. The white tiger sculpture stands still, but this tiger is playful, living in harmony with the 100 year forest.
Mai Miyake "Double Luck"
This work depicts a bat, such as can be seen at the Meiji Jingu Forest in the evening. The Chinese character for bat is made up of the characters for “insect” and “luck”, and bats have been a symbol of good fortune in Japan and Asia since ancient times. The folding fan itself symbolizes the spread of wealth, so together with the bat this image is filled with a mood of blessings. Depending on the angle you look at the picture, the bat can disappear into the sumi ink, suggesting a bat flying at night. Painted in sumi ink and silver, the colors remind one of a cool summer evening.
Aki Moriyama "Created Forest"
A diorama of Meiji Jingu was built, and then a painting was made of it using oil and acrylic with a blue base tone. Artist Aki Moriyama has used this process to mirror the way the man-made forest was originally built. The work holds a depth and odd appeal, reflecting the vast forest in the city, home to all kinds of life, as well as the thoughts and prayers of people.
Ai Yamaguchi "misohitogusa"
Ai Yamaguchi uses motifs based on Edo period culture and customs, and Japanese art styles such a Rinpa, mixed with the contemporary styles to produce “bijinga” images of women, employing sensitive and supple lines. The title “misohitomoji” is another name for tanka or waka poetry. The work translates the individual words of poem into human figures. A Waka poem is written around the edge of the piece. The words are taken from the Meiji Jingu Omikokoro fortune slips, entwined like ivy or grasses. Be sure to look at the edges of the piece.
Noriko Yamaguchi "Wildlife in Tokyo"
This work is a collage depicting the animals and plants that live in the sacred forest. Things that grow on the ground are shown in the sky, and unexpected creatures are shown side by side, creating a world that grows stranger the more you look at it. “The forest in the city is a place for animals, not humans,” says the artist, and the work questions the natural world in the forest - “What are you doing here?” - with an artistic curiosity.
Motoi Yamamoto "Floating Garden"
This work depicts bubbles joined in a helical form, each a memory of a trivial event in the life of someone dear, now lost. The artist’s large scale works made in salt fill a space with his thoughts for the departed, with the salt acting as a kind of purifying agent, as well. The whirlpool is an ancient image of strong life and rebirth, and a widely used symbol for eternity. The salt installations garner art fans from around the world. His carefully drawn salt images of the strength and transience of human life offer us pause for thought as we enter a new era.