A Sky-high View of Tokyo
Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.
Once I took a half-dozen various angles and views, I noticed that this particular image made me feel the vast blue-grey always present that hazy day in Tokyo, Japan.
Here is a view from Mori Art Museum in Roppongi Hills. We took the Metro to this area to view the contemporary art exhibit “Simple Forms: Contemplating Beauty.”
A photograph may reveal colors the eye fails to see.
“This exhibition — a collection of works from all over the world — is the first joint exhibition by the Centre Pompidou-Metz and Foundation d’entreprise Hermes, and it has been brought to Japan to celebrate the reopening of the Mori Art Museum after three months of renovation work. It brings together 130 “simple form” exhibits — objects, art, and installations — splitting them into nine sections: Metaphysical Landscapes, Home for Solitude, Cosmos and Moon, Mechanical Forms, Geometric Forms, Forms of Nature, Generative Forms, Animal and Human, and Enigma.” Japan Times “Simple Forms: Contemplating Beauty”
No photography or note notetaking is allowed, yet I managed to scrawl two notes. I liked the scope of the exhibit, plus the fact that the first objects where Stone Age objects. The first art object to meet our eyes was a video of a hand. A man’s hand rotating a polished green stone, the size of a hand-ax. Human history cannot be told without tools and the use of natural objects. Something about this first object put me at ease. I must confess that I often do not like contemporary art exhibits, often too much concept and not enough artistic esthetics. I love beauty. I love beauty in thousands of forms. I love space, hues of color and especially aged bronze and objects of polished stone.
A rare delight for us was the free English audio guide, not usually found in Japanese museums or art exhibits. The show felt inclusive from the private rock collections of European artists to cutouts by Henri Matisse (Forms from “Jazz” 9) and a Constantin Brâncuși “Bird in Space” to works by major Japanese artists, Ohmaki Shinji and Kuroda Taizo,
“Bird in Space” held the imagination of Brancusi for twenty or more years. If this artist or sculpture is new to you, please read this.
“From the 1920s to the 1940s, the theme of a bird in flight preoccupied Brancusi. He concentrated on the animals’ movement, rather than their physical attributes. In Bird in Space, the sculptor eliminated wings and feathers, elongated the swell of the body, and reduced the head and beak to a slanted oval plane. Balanced on a slender conical footing, the figure’s upward thrust appears unfettered. This sculpture is part of a series that includes seven marble sculptures and nine bronze casts.” Constantin Brancusi Metro Museum Online
What images linger from that day?
Ohmaki Shinji’s installation in a spacious (20 by 30) white room with five computer timed fans set in the floor and a white fabric net spanning the width of the room, which fell and floated in cloud-like forms, and then, as if to come back to when the modern age began in Europe’s Renaissance, our eyes fell upon a rare treasure, never seen by us before – an Albrecht Durer drawing or print entitled “Melencoliai.” The exquisite and finely detailed piece defined by brief an explanation in English, that all artists face the perfection of geometry, math, and science, often feeling that nothing more can be added or embellished.
Do all writers, visual artists and writers fell this utter immobilization when faced with the perfection of mathematical truth and forms?
paws pause before starting to create something new?
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Best, Deborah Taylor-French
Redwood Writer branch of the California Writers’ Club