Mito Annual '93
Venue : Art Tower Mito
Organization : Art Tower Mito
Mark Rothko, Hokusai ,Anish Kapoor, F.Clemente, Jan Fabre, Dumb Type, IFP, Richard Wilson, LSX
This exhibition is not designed to present direct representations of "another world" but to create situations which lead museum visitors to think seriously about such a world. Each of the nine artists was given a different room where they dealt with the common theme in their own way.
Anish Kapoor's installation in the first room made use of eleven natural stones. The artist obtained the stones near Mito and, interestingly enough, they were imported from China. Each stone is one to one and a half meters across and weighs between eight hundred and two thousand kilograms. The irregular forms recall soft-bodied organisms. After putting the stones in place, Kapoor painted each one with three coats of blue pigment. The painted stones seem to be coated with an intense, deep blue velvet and the surfaces give an uncanny impression of great depth.
Through this process the strangely-shaped rocks, once part of a great continent, lose their original material presence and sense of weight and are transformed into something non-material. The eye follows the odd twists and cracks in the surface of the stones but finds it difficult to focus on the form.
According to Kapoor, this is an image of "earth changing into heaven." It is an extension of his Angel series in which flat pieces of stone resembling wings are painted a deep blue. For the pieces in this show, the artist chose to think of the illusory, non-material image of the work as a dragon rather than an angel. This mythological creature of Asia, an inhabitant of another world, is at home among the mists and smoke of fantastic mountain peaks, an atmosphere quite different from the more rational, orderly world of Europe
The surface of the river above Hokusai's waterfall is made into a magical space, a wide-open abyss leading to "another world." His series of Waterfalls in Various Provinces depicts eight well-known waterfalls and was painted when the artist was 74 years old. Except for the famous Kirifuri falls in Nikko, the waterfalls are thought to have been painted after existing paintings of the well known scenic spots.
Hokusai's imagination worked to create an effective blend of stylized and realistic depiction. His depictions of water are particularly remarkable. He presents the sea with great skill in the wave pictures belonging to the Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji and Chie-no-umi the series on the life of fishing villages. In these pictures, we can recognize the artist's rational powers of observation and an ability to analyze the living rhythms of the eternally changing sub stance of water, giving the solid, fixed forms and injecting the pulse of life with a demonic sensibility. His interests were close to those of Leonardo da Vinci who also found a way of analyzing waves, dividing them into twelve types on the basis of form and flow. Da Vinci was devoted to the creative transformation of nature in his art, and his scientific curiosity led him to depict the unending conflicts between earth and water from the bottom of the sea to the top of the mountains. He and Hokusai had a great deal in common in their analytic approach to the mysteries of nature.
This is exemplified in the General View of Famous Bridge in Various Provinces. and Birds-eye View of China in which the artist takes a God-like bird's-eye view. One of these pictures shows the entire land of China spread out in one painting. The one hundred bridges connecting islands, which float like ephemeral illusions, are painted in marvelous detail making each one a complete scene. The viewer can stroll visually through the entire space in a blend of reality and illusion. The famous bridges divide up the space, becoming symbols of the boundary between this world and another. I do not believe that it is accidental that Hokusai painted most of these pictures between the ages of 72 and 76. Hokusai said that he began to understand form only after he turned seventy. To him, the "true form of things" was their essential spirit or life.
(Excerpt from the beginning of the catalog『Another World』)