In praise of light - Pierre Soulages, Tanabe Chikuunsai

Pierre Soulages, Tanabe Chikuunsai - Publisher 5 Continents - Ouvrage relié - 96 pages - Text in Bilingue Français / English - Published in 2021

Capturing the glow the night engenders, as if by magic certain works of surpassing beauty reveal the colours of the shadows. The collections in the Baur Foundation, Museum of Far Eastern Art are packed with these rare marvels, attracting visitors from throughout the world.

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in this language
Model 9788874399680
Artist Pierre Soulages, Tanabe Chikuunsai
Author Laure Schwartz-Arenales
Publisher 5 Continents
Format Ouvrage relié
Number of pages 96
Language Bilingue Français / English
Dimensions 210 x 210
Published 2021
Museum Fondation Baur, Musée des Arts d’Extrême-Orient, Suisse

Exhibition Catalogue In praise of light - Pierre Soulages, Tanabe Chikuunsai, presented at Fondation Baur, Musée des Arts d’Extrême-Orient, Suisse (17 novembre 2021 – 27 mars 2022).

The subdued lighting in the Japanese rooms is designed to induce the appropriate mood to appreciate the large number of pieces collected by Alfred Baur that exemplify the crepuscular aesthetic tradition described in Tanizaki Junichiro’s masterly In Praise of Shadows. Also highlighted is an array of shiny black lacquer objects (scabbards, tea boxes, incense containers, desktop objects), often engraved, highly polished, decorated with gold dust or thread, or embellished by metal, mother-of-pearl or enamel features.

Taking its cue from this spectacle of chiaroscuro effects, the Baur Foundation is holding an exhibition of some of the masterpieces by the master of “bright black” painting, Pierre Soulages. His art echoes “the weight of silence”, in the words of Tanizaki, and coincidentally, but at the same time quite evidently, it matches the “colours of the darkness” so dear to Japan’s visual culture. His works have sometimes been likened to calligraphy or lacquerwork and might even be said to share some of the features of “reverse painting” ( urazaishiki).

The exhibition aims to offer a different perspective on the Land of the Rising Sun, laying the stress on the clean lines of its bamboo forests and the sounds and light filtering through them. “Abstract sculpture”, created according to Pierre Soulages by “branches writing in the air”, interacts with the long canes and joints of the bamboo, traced in chiaroscuro by an exceptional artist, Tanabe Chikuunsai IV. He represents the fourth generation of a family of artists employing ancestral traditions and techniques to make art from plants, to which he adds his own fresh, radiant, sculptural approach.


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