|Natsunosuke MISE: Summer in Winter|
|Written by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA|
|Published: March 03 2009|
fig. 1 "Natsunosuke Mise Exhibition : Summer in Winter" (The Sato Museum of Art, 3F), "Strange Scenery" Photo provided by The Sato Museum of Art, copyright © Natsunosuke MISE / Courtesy of The Sato Museum of Art
fig. 2 "Natsunosuke Mise Exhibition : Summer in Winter" (The Sato Museum of Art, 3F), "Strange Scenery" Photo provided by The Sato Museum of Art, copyright © Natsunosuke MISE / Courtesy of The Sato Museum of Art
fig. 3 "Natsunosuke Mise Exhibition : Summer in Winter" (The Sato Museum of Art, 3F), "Strange Scenery" Photo provided by The Sato Museum of Art, copyright © Natsunosuke MISE / Courtesy of The Sato Museum of Art
fig.4 "Natsunosuke Mise Exhibition : Summer in Winter" (The Sato Museum of Art, 3F), "Strange Scenery" (left), "J" (right) Photo provided by The Sato Museum of Art, copyright © Natsunosuke MISE / Courtesy of The Sato Museum of Art
Ark, ladder, burgeon, "Behind the waves offshore Kanagawa from the series 36 Views of Mount Fuji" by Hokusai Katsushika, woman, myth, shoot, Mount Fuji, luxury liner, shrine gate, tall building, flatland, house, flower, military aircraft, locomotive, child, giant, flying balloon, UFO, five-story pagoda, giant Buddha, boy, airplane, dot, airplane, turtle, mountain scenery, water scenery, moon, light, Buddha statue, tall building, crashing airship, Buddha statue, water scenery, fishing boat, staffage, ladder, mountain scenery, mountain cherry blossoms, waterfall, giant Buddha, colony, ladder, power pole, flag of the Rising Sun, fresh green, tall building, giant Buddha, hibiscus, ray, dark clouds, tall building, giant Buddha, tall building, mountain scenery, volcanic smoke, boy, lighting, tall building, Loch Ness monster, ladder, mountain scenery, water scenery, waterfall, smoke, airplane, giant, tall building, airplane, turtle, UFO, cloud, finger, tall building, ladder, bridge, flag of the Rising Sun, mountain scenery, mountain cherry blossoms, boy, airplane, volcanic smoke, flag of the Rising Sun.2
Apart from the drawing method, just picking up points from the (collage) images, we find the above items in Natsunosuke Mise's life work entitled "Strange Scenery" (mixed media, thirty-four pairs of paneled screens, 154cm x 91.5cm for each pair from 2003 to 2008), an extraordinary huge folding screen. However, there are many things that are hard to identify or give a name to. Scattered Japanese ink/pigment, trace, rust, many layers of paper collages, blank spaces occupying a major part of the canvas are not included among the above items. I must mention that it was me who selected the above items, not Mise. No instruction has been given by the artist, so it is highly possible that part of or almost all of my understanding goes against his intention.
However, sometimes we understand things better when we write them down. The above image list shows that "Strange Scenery" does not have many images in spite of its scale and overwhelming amount of information. The same image has been repeated in the screens; however, he succeeded in giving viewers a very full impression that is in no way monotonous. By taking a close look, we notice that the size and method are different, even for the same image, except the collaged parts, which use the same printing materials.
The giant who appears twice, in the 6th and 28th screens, is called "J" by Mise. "J" is too symbolic, so I described him as a giant for the sake of convenience. I do not repeat the explanation as I already wrote about it before.*1 Many visitors might have noticed the fact that Mise repeats the motif in different artworks because a pair of paneled screens entitled "J" (Japanese ink/chalk/colorant/aluminum foil/collage by ink-jet printer/printed material on a Japanese paper, 190cm x 245cm, in 2008) first released for his solo-exhibition at Imura art gallery at the end of 2008 were exhibited on the third floor, where "Strange Scenery" was also exhibited. Some might have noticed that the giant who appears for the second time in "Strange Scenery" does not speak, despite his speech balloon. When it appears for the first time, a balloon with "ART" flies by his right side as if he is saying this word.
I will show you an easy example of repeated images and transition caused by the repetition: the face of a giant Buddha. In the 16th screen, we can find a profile and its body is drawn as if the body is drawn along with the mountain line. The full face in the 19th screen is slightly larger than that in the 16th. In addition, the halo from the back has the effect of renewing the comparatively quiet black-and-white screen due to the highlights brought by the intensive brush strokes of Japanese ink and chalk. Two Buddha statues are drawn side by side in the next screen, the 20th, but they are the smallest and create a really sober impression.
We can see this image repetition in other works apart from "Strange Scenery". One of Mise's main characteristics is that the images chain and proliferate from one artwork to another. For example, in this exhibition, the above-mentioned giant Buddha is similar to the one drawn in the upper left of "My God" (250cm x 545cm [oval] in 2008) who is looking in another direction. Then there are the five-story pagodas in the 8th screen of "Strange Scenery". The composition of the radially-positioned five-story pagodas with a central focus on a giant Buddha reminds us of a mandala, and "Staring at Gap" (seven pairs of double-faced paneled screens, Japanese paper/colorant/pigment/metallic powder in 2003) with an enlarged version of the same scene is displayed on the fourth floor. The scene where vast numbers of airplanes are circling is much more relentless than "Strange Scenery". There are several depictions of UFOs in the 7th and 30th screens of "Strange Scenery" and such images were also seen in his past solo-exhibition titled "web UFO".*2 A Loch Ness monster shown in the 25th screen of "Strange Scenery" is also found in "J" (Japanese ink/chalk/colorant/aluminum foil/collage by ink-jet printer/printed materials/acrylic on Japanese paper, 182cm x 242cm in 2008) in the clouds. A boy who emits a beam of light from his eyes in the 6th and 32nd screens is often seen in his artworks.3
"Natsunosuke Mise Exhibition: Summer in Winter" held at The Sato Museum of Art from January 15th 2009 to February 22nd 2009 started with "Strange Scenery" placed in exhibition room 1 on the third floor prepared by Megumu Tateshima, the curator of the museum. On the third floor, there was exhibited the "Staring at Gap" series, "J" and even his atelier. We unconsciously kept the images produced by Mise in our heart while walking in front of "Strange Scenery", which is over 30m in length. We are reminded of these when we enter exhibition room 2 on the fourth floor, prepared by Mise. The room was crowded with large artworks, small pieces, objets d'art, and his atelier was also duplicated as in the third floor.*3 This atelier served to tear the background and the context of the artwork creation from the artworks and helped them to return to the image.
fig. 8 "Natsunosuke Mise Exhibition : Summer in Winter" (The Sato Museum of Art, 4F), "Staring at Gap". Photo provided by The Sato Museum of Art, copyright © Natsunosuke MISE / Courtesy of The Sato Museum of Art
In this exhibition, "Ruining Japanese Painting" (Japanese paper/Japanese ink/chalk/gold leaf/acrylic/collage of printed materials in 2007) and "Reviving Japanese Painting" (Japanese paper/Japanese ink/chalk in 2007) were displayed as a pair for the first time. In the former, created for a group exhibition entitled "Ruining Japanese Painting" planned by curator Goro Morimoto at C Square, Chukyo University,*4 a flag of the Rising Sun danced wildly, scenery in Florence where he was staying at that time could be found here and there, and colorful printed materials obtained in Florence were collaged. The latter was created as a counterpart to "Ruining Japanese Painting", exhibited at Meihodo blanc near C Square at a similar time. He mainly used Japanese ink without gold leaf or acrylic or printed materials; however, he gave depth by the rays emitted from the volcanic smoke in the center and by the buildings drawn parallel with it. In "Ruining Japanese Painting", the combination of scenes tries not to retain stability but to give a heavy atmosphere. In "Surviving Japanese Painting", each scene is independent as well as consistent, which gives us a sense of divinity. His stay in Florence influenced both artworks greatly, and they are important as his answer to the discussion about "Japanese Painting". Unfortunately, the discussion itself is not part of this exhibition.
fig. 9 "Natsunosuke Mise Exhibition : Summer in Winter" (The Sato Museum of Art, 4F). Photo provided by The Sato Museum of Art, copyright © Natsunosuke MISE / Courtesy of The Sato Museum of Art
Like these two artworks, no caption nor explanation panel is attached to the other artworks. The interpretation of each artwork has been entrusted to visitors.*5 "Summer in Winter", beautiful words presented by Lorenzo, a poet whom Mise met in Florence, does not give us a specific image of the artist, his artworks and this exhibition. This might not satisfy those who require a single interpretation for an artwork and a description of an exhibition in terms of relevance to art history. In the venue, some said, "I don't understand." Nevertheless, during my three visits I saw many people who could not help staring at the artworks. They must have known the pleasure of entering the world of the artwork just for fun. Maybe Mise’s artworks prompted them to learn how to do this. This is the greatest significance of this exhibition.
"Natsunosuke MISE: Summer in Winter"
|Last Updated on July 06 2010|