In a series of exhibitions, Axel Vervoordt Gallery explores how the late Japanese artist Ryuji Tanaka pushed the boundaries of traditional and experimental Japanese art forms. Interested in bending the rules of nihon-ga – traditional Japanese painting — Tanaka eventually only kept the traditional techniques and use of materials. This led him to establish a uniquely abstract style and new method of painting since the early 1960s, up until the 1990s. He piled up a thick heap of mineral pigments in the centre of his paintings, creating a large plane of colour. Ore is the main ingredient in these pigments, and as these tiny particles shine in the light, they create a hard, yet delicate and powdery texture. Lines overflow from the edges of the colour plane into the surrounding picture. The roughness of the pigments is bright against the dark background, providing his work with fantastical, mysterious qualities. Tanaka also added pebbles to expand the pigments, and rather than a brush, he used a feather, making the picture blurry and allowing the paint to stream. With these nihon-ga materials like the natural mineral pigments and sumi ink, Tanaka was constantly exploring the potential of the contemporary in the traditional.
Saturday, September 1st. 2pm - 7pm
Axel Vervoordt Gallery Kanaal