This project explores the idea of traditional Japanese painting (Nihonga) through the theme of “Contemporary Botanical Art from Japan: Kusabana-zu”. Throughout its history, Nihonga has drawn an identity from association with tradition; even today it retains a basis in time-honoured Japanese artistic conventions and draws on traditional techniques and materials. However, Nihonga has also given rise to individual artistic styles and expression and has served as an arena for many well-known artists.
The post-19th Century influence of western art in Japan coupled with the development of contemporary artistic expression, techniques and media challenged this traditional form of painting. Within the modernising climate of Japanese art, Nihonga artists have had to delicately balance the need to align themselves with tradition and the need to give Nihonga contemporary relevance. This has led to considerable debate about the meaning of Nihonga as a form of artistic expression and its stylistic parameters.
This talk for the exhibition “Contemporary Botanical Art from Japan, Kusabana-zu” serves as a forum for participating artists to explore the dichotomy and interrelationship between the traditional and the contemporary in Nihonga and how this impacts on their own individual art. It also aims to introduce a London audience to traditional Japanese painting media and materials used in Nihonga. In particular, it presents leading academic research into the conservation and restoration of Japanese handmade paper or washi, one of the key materials used in Nihonga painting. The talk will also feature Nihonga samples created by the academic Dr Tastuaki Oyama and the Nihonga artists Mistuki Noguchi and Hiroko Ueba.
Image: Tatsuaki Oyama,Renchi, mineral pigment on washi © Tatsuaki Oyama, courtesy of Oto Art
Daiwa Foundation Japan House
13/14 Cornwall Terrace ( Outer Circle)
London NW1 4QP