Abstract: The history of Japanese art has been exhibiting interesting dynamics, reflecting complicated reactions to the constant influence of the outside world. Especially, “suibokuga”, or Japanese ink wash painting, has been occupying a unique position over the past 1200 years. Suibokuga uses only two essential components: black ink and a brush, yet these seemingly simple materials create a rich art form that breathes life onto the blank surface of white paper or silk. In the first part of the talk, I will offer i) explanation of the basic tools and materials of ink paintings, ii) introduction of traditional and modern techniques and iii) a crash course of the art history of suibokuga.
In the second half of the talk, I will introduce the modern movement of suibokuga, illustrating the emergence of two groups, “contemporary” and “traditional” school, as different responses to Western contemporary art after World War II. I will present a large variety of visual images from the works by modern suibokuga artists whom I have a personal connection with. Some of the works will be displayed in the institute, and I will offer a tour afterward for an interested audience.