MEMBERS PICK | VERTICAL OR HORIZONTAL? PAINTING BY RYOSAKU KOTAKU
This members pick is by Bert Meems, former board member of the SJA. It is a painting by Ryosaku Kotaka. Born in Osaka in 1971, he started selling hand-dyed T-shirts. Later on, he studied the Suminagashi technique (literally translated means ‘ink-floating), and even later the Washi technique originated from the 11th-12th century. He prepares his own Washi paper on the old, traditional Japanse way (by beginning with collecting Kozo (Mulberry wood), stripping and draining its fibers, to drying and pressing them, he produces a thin tissue paper able to accurately absorb ink from the water’s surface). Further on he uses the technique of Suminagashi, with which he applies Sumi ink or colors onto washi. The process is as follows: ink is carefully dropped on to still water and blown across the surface to create delicate patterns. Once finished, paper is lowered onto the water’s surface and absorbs the ink. As usual, all paintings are prepared for a vertically presentation as scrolls in e.g. tokonomas.
Bert states: Visiting the PAN Amsterdam (22-29 November) in 2009, I was impressed bij the horizontal placed, untitled, painting of Ryosaku Kotaka, as presented by Edward Pranger from his Oriental Art Gallery. I was so impressed that I asked Mr. Pranger for a one-day option. Because I was alone, I asked my wife to join me the next day. She was impressed as well so we bought this painting. It was framed that winter in a great way. It is hanging horizontally above the dinner table, on a prominent place. We all like this painting because of its “flying” structure, as a Concorde airplane.By coincidence, I found out that Ryosaku Kotaka had a solo exhibition “Catching the drifts” in Sieboldhuis, Leiden, the next year on 25 June until 15 August 2010. I could joint the opening after which I met Ryosaku Kotaka and his wife. During this exhibition, we invited Ryosaku and his wife for a dinner. He did stand a long time before his own painting. Asking why, he explained that all his paintings were originally placed as vertical, in accordance with all Japanese scrolls, due to limiting wall spaces in their small homes. It is unnecessary to say that we have had a marvelous (Indonesian) dinner. He did spent a long time with art books from our library containing a.o. 9 m of books from Japanese authors.
Artist: Ryosaku Kotaka
Painting: Untitled: size 29 x 125 cm.
Originated in 2008-2009.