photo: KIOKU Keizo

KAZE (wind)

ArtistINOUE Yuichi
Material/ TechniqueChinese ink included bond on Japanese paper
Size/ DurationH125×W241.5cm
Copyright Notice© UNAC TOKYO
Year of acquisition/ donation2016
DescriptionBorn in Tokyo, Japan in 1916. Died in Kanagawa in 1985.

Inoue started practicing as a calligrapher in 1950, and two years later formed the “Bokujin-kai” avant-garde calligraphy group together with MORITA Shiryu, EGUCHI Sogen and others. He mixed with abstract artists and critics in Japan and overseas and advocated the establishment of avant-garde calligraphy (bokusho) as a form of abstract painting. Avantgarde calligraphy has a close affinity with contemporary art in the context of Western art, but Inoue’s artworks, including his single-character calligraphy, exhibit particularly striking sculpture-like characteristics and are now regarded highly both in Japan and internationally as a singular form of expression within contemporary art.

The series of abstract artworks consisting of black enamel paint on Kent paper Inoue produced between 1955 and 1956 could be regarded as painterly sculptures rather than calligraphy. Although he produced them over a period of less than one year, the technique he used, which combines elements of calligraphy and art, determined the future direction of Inoue’s calligraphy. Inoue, who returned to creating characters with Chinese ink and brush in the late 1950s, later conducted research into composition, painting techniques and shades of Chinese ink, producing a large number of so-called “single-character calligraphy” works in which the meanings of the characters or words were of little concern. As a result of his pursuit of calligraphy techniques, which included the use of a special kind of Chinese ink called “bond ink” in order to accentuate his brushstrokes, Inoue realized his own style of calligraphy possessed of a painterly appeal in which space was created through his peculiar brush pressure and boldness of strokes. In this work, which has the appearance of a tornado rising up through space, the fulsome spirit of Inoue in his later years is manifested in the brushwork.