photo: SAIKI Taku

Untitled (Karaku)

ArtistNAKAGAWA Yukio
Year1984
Material/ Techniqueflower liquid, seed on Japanese paper
Size/ DurationH135×W135cm
Copyright Notice© NAKAGAWA Yukio
Year of acquisition/ donation2005
DescriptionBorn in Kagawa, Japan in 1918. Died there in 2012.

Around the age of 23, Nakagawa Yukio studied ikebana (flower arrangement) with his aunt, who belonged to the Ikenobo School. A collection of works that Nakagawa sent to "Ikebana Geijutsu" magazine in 1949 was commended by landscape architect SHIGEMORI Mirei, and Nakagawa subsequently joined Shigemori’s ikebana research group ‘Hakutosha.’ Nakagawa left Ikenobo School in 1951. After he moved to Tokyo in 1956, he did not belong to any organization or school, and pursued ikebana on his own without taking any disciple. His solo exhibition entitled “Karaku” held in Ginza in 1984 was well received. Along with his avant-garde and revolutionary approach to flowers, the artist created glassworks and calligraphy. Having been influenced by late photographer DOMON Ken, he also takes photographs. Awarded the 2nd Oribe Award in 1999 and the 11th Japan Arts Council Prize in 2004.

Nakagawa’s “Karaku” series was first shown in his solo exhibition at Ginza Jiyugaoka Gallery in 1984. He dropped extracted flower essence on calligraphic paper and placed many watersoaked sponges over it. The color of the flower essence was dark at first, but as time passed by, it changed to bright purple, blue and then brown on paper. He extracts flower sap to represent flowers and fixes its hidden colors on paper. This act indicates that he is trying to grasp the true nature of flowers, confronting the roots of life in flowers by using his body. "Untitled (Karaku)" is the largest-scale piece in the series. Blurred colors of flower sap that spread all over the picture like a magnificent big flower symbolize vitality together with black seeds left here and there. "Sacred Book" is a photographic work in which the moment when half-rotten carnation sap oozed out on calligraphic paper under the weight of glass was photographed. This piece in which he exposed the last brilliance of the dying flower in the combination of his glasswork shows the similar course of creation as "Hanabozu", his most important work.

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