“What's Art?” by Koji Murata
Before thinking of what is art, I thought of the definition of artist like this; An artist is a specialist who creates a new sense of value in art field. Through his/her work, he/she brings people cultural wealth such as a new world view and new values.
Taking photographs has been developed as a means for recording life. It duplicates what really exists in sight. It means that everything including unwanted things come out in the picture. On the other hand, 'art' such as paintings and sculptures show straight what the artists really want to express and unwanted things are screened out. To find a way to combine this antinomy is my challenge. My goal is to express a vision of the world in my photographs. In addition, I want to put my philosophy into my artwork.
Seeing the history of art in Japan, Shinzo Fukuhara, who was a first president of Shiseido Company, released 'Seine' as a photographer. At the same time, many other artists who became inspired by Victorianism participated actively. Fukuhara tried to express what inspired him and his feelings while he omitted details excessively in his photo. However his work was roundly criticized for mimicking the painting, and ended up without making new trend. I wonder if boundary and separation between paintings and photographs is necessary in the first place.
In these days, photography digitalization is progressing. I say this is a chance for another try to represent a photograph as an art. This is because the art photography market has been established in Europe and the United States. The digitalization of photography enables to show only what I really want to express in the photograph due to the advance in technology. However, it needs to stick to the highquality finish with a clearly ideological message and own philosophy in the photograph.
Photography digitalization creates a new technique as well. It created the impressionist art in Western paintings and in Japanese paintings, Hishida Shunso and Yokoyama Taikan developed a new style which was called 'Moro-tai style', as Blurred style. Although the new style faced a severe criticism, it turned out to be a great success as a result. The techniques might come next but I want to make a new technique of my own.
I had been trying to figure out the what-is-art-question when I found a book. 'What is modern art-abstruse reason and the point of view' published by Japan Aesthetics Laboratory. In this book, it says there are three important points to win art competition; to learn western history, to know the flow of the history of art, and to find out Japanese culture. Learning history is not so difficult. Moreover finding out Japanese culture is the most advantageous point for us. Japanese culture seems much different from western culture, so it is easier to be distinct from others. I think how you arrange Japanese culture in the picture and how you explain it is also important.
There is a famous landscape architect in Kyoto. His name is Yasuo Kitayama. His simple garden that is completely trimmed is highly-praised not only in many shrines and temples in Kyoto but also in abroad. He says 'when you do something new, you ask 10 people whether you should do it or not. If only one out of them say yes, you should do it. However if 6 or 7 people in that group agree, it is a history. You should not make things what are not criticized. Even though your art is criticized, you should make your own art.' What he says is always in my heart and encourages me.
The artist who I got inspired most is Kawase Hasui. He is a woodblock printmaker. His work is famous for his unique composition and capturing everyday life in Japan. It also attracts us to put a person as a staffage in his work. He is a world-famous painter and is also known as the last woodblock printmaker. Steve Jobs loved Hasui's artworks.
What I was surprised is that Hasei expressed the different time by using the same wood block. I was impressed by his fully imagination. He could do this because there was a clear outline in his work. It might be difficult to do the same thing in the photograph but I want to use this idea in my artwork. It might be interesting if I have a clear outline and change the color in my photograph. It will be wonderful if I use these ideas for my photographs and express more freely.