Eloge de la lumière / In Praise of Light, Pierre Soulages - Tanabe Chikuunsai IV

Laure Schwartz-Arenales ed.

French / English, 95 pp., 50 col. ill., Geneva & Milan, 2021, CHF 25.-

It is in relation to its precious collections of “mirror black” porcelain wares, stoneware with iridescent glazes, and lustrous lacquers that the Baur Foundation, Museum of Far Eastern Art, has chosen to dialogue with some of the masterpieces by the master of “luminous black”, Pierre Soulages. The affinities that his art has cultivated with the “uncanny silence” and “colours of darkness”associated with Japanese aesthetics, celebrated by Junichiro Tanizaki in his 1933 essay In Praise of Shadows, though purely contingent, are no less apparent. His works have sometimes prompted comparisons with calligraphy and lacquer work, and may also recall the ancient technique of “painting on the back” (ura-zaishiki). The purpose of this catalogue is to present a new encounter with the Land of the Rising Sun, this time through the erect lines, sounds, and piercing light of a bamboo forest; through the “abstract sculptures” germinated by the painter of “beyondblack”, whose practice of “writing branches in space” finds parallels in the stems and knots of bamboo modelled in chiaroscuro by an artist of exceptional talent, Tanabe Chikuunsai IV. Heir to ancestral traditions and techniques, he engages with the plant world, infusing it with a uniquely sculptural, radiant perspective.