Art of Teruko Hiramatsu
- "Tradition and avant-garde"
- Contemporary artist Teruko Hiramatsu has played a more active part overseas
thanin Japan. However she has always pursued art with a Japanese feel.
Although sheaimed for the top in contemporary art, she did not lose sight
of the legitimate soul of Japanese traditional art. It is said that tradition
is not set in concrete, it must change as time goes by.
Teruko Hiramatsu's art is phantasmagorical. She was born in 1921 and has
faced new challenges in her 87 years. One of her themes is her version
That is an aligning of very orthodox Japanese view on beauty with innovative
original technique and expression. This innovative expression is easily
when seen in her drawings. This guide tries to put her innovative expression
What are the foundations of Japanese traditional culture?
The national flag of Japan symbolizes a rising sun, the red circle the
sun itself and
the surrounding white area the universe. In addition, the red symbolizes
life and the
white, Shintoist purity. The Japanese national flag projects the idea of
What is the meaning of the Kanji "Nihon"? The hieroglyph "日"
symbolizes the sun
and "日本" together mean "nationhood" based on the concept
Japanese culture goes back to the ancient Jomon and Yayoi eras.
Japan is mountainous. Because of the islands' rain-blessed climate, Japan
for rice growing. As rice crops spread in all parts of Japan, people's
embraced matters of weather.
The sun's huge energy pouring on the ground nourishes bountiful harvests
mountainside and plain. The origin of life on earth is the sun. Humans
intuitively that the sun fosters all life on earth, so sun worship developed
beliefs such as Shinto.
"Two aesthetics in Shintoism"
According to Shintoist, a type of animism, the world is dominated by a
native gods. All things which exist; humans, animals, plants, small stones,
mountains are believed to have been created by Gods and are reminders of
Gods. The belief that each facet of nature corresponds to a God gives the
joy that human can coexist with Gods. A mythological outlook regarding
God brings paradise to the earthly world.
Furthermore, the seasonal climate of Japan brings extraordinary beauty.
natural for Japanese culture to consider "beauty" as the highest
While the word "miyabi" points to a world of gorgeous magnificence,
variant "miyabi" describes a drawing technique "yamatoe"
of the Heian era. Gold and silver were used for the background in "yamatoe"
to express a feeling of happiness in a world wrapped in sunlight. Yamatoe
reached its peak in the Edo era through the rise of the "Rimpa"
school, represented by artists including Kourin Ogata and Soutatsu Tawaraya.
Shinto has an additional representative feature, its view of a "Pure
Shintoism shuns impurity. A pure thing (e.g. the color white) is valued.
Zen and other Buddhist sects arrived in Shintoist Japan where purification
symbolized by the color white.
Shintoism's white-based "pure world" leads to the beauty of
"wabi", "sabi", "horobi"(ruination), "yugen"
(profound subtlety) and "mono-no-aware." At the same time, the ideas
"mu" (void) and "ku" (empty), seen in Zen and Heart
Sutra, demand austere minimalism. The sumi-ink landscape painting contains
many unpainted areas.
These white areas indicate the art of "mu" (void), and this
technique resonates with the unique Japanese "pure world" idea.
Furthermore, Zen's idea "muga"
(selflessness) pursues nonsubjective unification between nature and human
The selfless Zen world view was expressed by the sumi-ink landscape painting
technique which describes a stylized landscape world in black on a white
The Ryoan Temple is famous for this stylized landscape expressionism rendering
sea against vast white sand. This mechanism helps us image the wide spread
world. Moreover, the Wabi-Sabi of Zen is a beauty created by leaving the
exist while excluding individual deliberation.
Thus, traditional Japanese beauty has essential sympathy with nature and
acquaintance with flowers, birds, wind, moon, snow, and so on. The opposing
aesthetics of "miyabi", ''wabi" and "sabi" make
Typical examples referred to are "A forest of the Japanese apricot
tree" by Kourin
Ogata and "A forest of the pine tree" by Touhaku Hasegawa.
However, both aesthetic fundamentals are based on the animistic belief
Gods' spirit dwe1ls in everything. Teruko Hiramatsu's work reflects this
idea as one of its main themes.
- "Japanese modern arts and world arts"
Yamatoe reached its peak through the Rimpa school, represented by Korin
and Soutatsu Tawaraya. Firstly, such Japanese fine arts began as architectural
ornamentation during the Heian era. Eventually freer, decorative Japanese
arts, such as "ukiyoe", gave influences to contemporary, occidental
western artists, for example, Gustav Klimt, Van Gogh, and others.
A new trend of the 20th Century was freely modeled art including Fauvism
Cubism. Artists were not trapped by the existing object but let it become
opportunity to create free form. In the postwar period, Japanese culture
influenced occidental abstract artists, such as Mark Tobey and Eve KIein.
However, as abstract painting, pop art, conceptual art, etc. progressed,
views on "beauty" became irrelevant in art. Soon the traditionally
beautiful thing was no longer valued, and as art became more self confident,
awareness of traditional beauty faded.
"Teruko's miracle and tragedy"
Teruko's life was a trial.Teruko Hiramatsu's father was blessed with designing
He engaged in retail display design in Asakusa, a progressive precinct
during the Taisho era of the 1910s.
Her father's work was running well and was economically rewarding. A child
expected and he appointed, for Teruko, a midwife who had served the Crown
However, in 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake occurred when Teruko was
years old. Fire was a feature of the damage caused by this large earthquake.
spread through the collapsed houses three hours after the earthquake occurred,
Tokyo became burnt ruins.
The toll of the earthquake was about 150,000 lives, 80 percent cause by
than 400,000 houses were burnt. Her father, approaching an evacuation site
Hifukushoato to find a missing family, died at the age of 29 in a tornado
gasses. The site became a graveyard for 38,000 souls. Her mother carrying
on her back ran into the Sumida River to escape fire. Teruko, dying of
inhalation, was fortunately revived upon reaching the river.
It was a kind of miracle that she survived where corpses overlapped in
river.The Hiramatsu family lost their father and all possessions in this
disaster.Unfortunately for Teruko, her mother's remarriage left her to
be brought up
by grandparents. They lived in Souja City in Okayama Prefecture.
"Shintoism and Buddhism"
Okayama Prefecture is about 500 km west from Tokyo and its history is
Okayama was called Kibi from the third to the seventh century, when a lot
Japan's earliest Tatara steel manufacturers produced tools using iron-rich
sand. As iron farming tools were produced, rice growing spread. Kibi was
advanced region in Japan at that time.
Shintoism arose based on Iwakura (megalith, where gods stay) and forest.
time, a megalithic culture existed in Okayama. The story that Kibitsuhiko
(son of the
Emperor Kourei) was dispatched to Okayama was written in the Kojiki and
It is said that Kibitsuhiko was the hero of a famous Momotaro legend.
Shinto Shrine where Kibitsuhiko was enshrined was established in the Muromachi
An ancestor of the Hiramatsu family was a chief priest of this Shinto
Believing images of the hometown come in succession, She visited Greece,
and Chinese Dunhuang, etc.
Shintoism and the Buddhism coexist in modern Japan. People in Japan visit
Shinto shrine on New Year's Day to celebrate the New Year, and when a loved
dies, the funeral is performed the Buddhism way.
The Shingonshu, the Hiramatsu family sect, enshrined Dainichi Nyorai,
the truth of space. Grandparents recited Prajna core sutra for a grandson's
soul. The Prajna core sutra had emerged in India, and it was an essential
Dharma to introduce Buddhism to China. Dharma introduced Zen meditation
to China and established the Zen sect, an Esoteric Buddhism. In the Heian
era, Kukai and Saicho (who traveled in Tang Dynasty China) introduced Buddhism
to Japan, part of their teachings becoming the Buddhism sect, Shingonshu.
She liked to paint in calm mind in a Japanese style room, soft sunlight
the room through Shoji (Japanese paper screens) while listening to her
grandparents reciting Prajna core sutra. Teruko's daily life was thus religiously
"Collections of works in her young age"
She studied painting by self-education while growing up in the bucolic
She issued a collection of works while she lived there. The collection
plant sketches similar to those in botanical reference books, but also
sketches of insects such as butterflies and dragonflies, rodents, crustaceans
It can be quickly observed that these are not common sketches from life.
human eye automatically focuses on the object it wants to see. Therefore,
details are depicted uniformly, the result will be a mere monotonous pictorial
However, in this collection of works,perspective, movement and presence
are expressed by intentionally obscuring the areas not of interest. Her
drawing adds depth and atmosphere to the work. This atmosphere and sense
perspective became her special feature, which will be explained later in
She grew up in Souja City, Okayama, the birth place of the Zen monk, Sesshuu.
Sesshuu leaves us a famous anecdote. When he was a child, he was bound
pillar in the temple as punishment for mischief.
Viewers says they see a mouse-like being in Shesshuu's picture, not knowing
the motif emerged from Sesshuu's falling tears. The mouse appearing in
reminds us that anecdotes dim.
After Hiramatsu graduated from the local high school, she became a junior
school teacher. Keido Fukushima emerged as head priest of the Tofuku Temple
Kyoto (the biggest Zen sect temple in Japan). He had been one of her junior
school students in Okayama.
A young Sesshu had trained as Buddhist priest at Houfuku Temple, Souja
the 15th Century. Fukushima also trained at the same temple. He later emerged
the head priest of the Toufuku Temple, visited various places in the United
and introduced Zen to the world. Later he wrote widely, becoming a Zen
while continuing a friendship with Teruko.
When She was born,her father said that he desired her to study in France.
It might be natural that She was interested in European contemporary art.
As no modern art leader existed in her country she studied modern art,
reading alone without a useful guiding force. She felt that she had to
get herself to Paris. At that time, she knew of an active, worldly Japanese
painter currently staying in Okayama.
"Pioneer of Japanese abstract art"
Hiramatsu studied under Kazuo Sakata. Although he is recognized as a pioneer
abstract painting, he remains an obscurity in the overall art history of
Japan. He was
born in Okayama, then lived in Paris from 1921 when he was 32 yeas old,
exhibited his works in the Salon de Thuy Lurie annually. He was fascinated
cubism of those days, so entered Leger's Research Institute where he gradually
became recognized. While he was in Academy Modem, and Leger became ill
to become a Leger assistant and lectured to students who gathered from
all over the world. Another assistant was Amedee Ozenfant.
Sakata exhibited two works in "The Art Exhibition of Today (Art d
which was Paris' first worldwide avant-garde art exhibition in l925.Then
he became a world-esteemed avant-garde artist.
In this exhibition, 88 artists from 20 or more countries, mainly Europe
United States, exhibited 241 works. Masters of modern art such as Arp,
Delaunay, Ernst, Miro, Mohory-nagy, Mondrian, Ozenfant, Picasso, and Leger
participated."The Art Exhibition of Today" was an epoch-making
symbolized an emergence from feudal society and the arrival of a free life
along with the development of contemporary industries. The showing of works
at this exhibition was considered to be a sign of belonging to a social
movement and as active participation in social reform.
Although many Japanese artists lived in Paris those days, only Sakata
oriental world participated in this exhibition, so later he enjoyed world
recognition as an avant-garde artist.
Sakata's works of his younger years in Paris resemble Leger's in style
due to his
position as Leger's assistant. However, after he returned to Japan, his
style gradually became his own form of abstract painting, and became a
peculiar expression of Eastern world calmness.
The representational painting expresses the object as it is seen, while
the abs tract painting expresses its invisible content, heart, and consciousness.
Cubism was a stage of transition toward the contemporary art which would
the art world of the postwar period. Artists who espoused both cubism and
painting were few in the world. Considering such aspects, Sakata is an
figure in modern art history.
The new beauty of modern times is based on life-changing instruction to
those who seek individuality and originality. His appeals against "authoritarianism",
"commercialism", and "academicism'' earned him rebuffs from
the painting circles of
Although Sakata came back to Japan only shortly before World War II, that
Sakata's statements concerning the avant-garde were considered heretical
conservative region like Okayama. It was a quite a contrast when Tsuguharu
returned to Japan, soon to produce art in cooperation with the army.
Eventually the former founded the first Avant-Garde-Okayama (A-G-O) of
postwar period in 1949, and held 4 exhibitions. In Japan, the term avant-garde
synonymous with "leading edge" and the acronym "A-G-O".
The avant-garde art
which Sakata strove toward, would be a new and unique one that did not
imitate the existing arts. Its instruction would be the opposite of conventional
He never invited a visitor into his studio.
Furthermore he prohibited his students from displaying fine-art magazines
might feature other artists' work in his studio. He also demanded his students
away the picture they did yesterday and do a new picture today."
Hiramatsu got to know Sakata when he returned to Okayama, she decided to
with him, and converted her style to abstract painting. She participated
in all A-G-O
More than 150 letters between Hiramatsu and Sakata from that short period
as important records. He praised in his letter her work exhibited in the
exhibition as being the most excellent and distinguished.
He wrote in a letter two years before he passed away, "My life may
soon end, so
please take my baton and try hard." It was his will that she succeed
spirit. Sakata's inevitable end came in l956 at the age of 67. Since he
authority of the central art circles, he was overlooked by the contemporary
historians of Japan as being another local artist.
A letter from Tadao Ogura (a director of the National Museum of Modern
Art, Kyoto) to Hiramatsu in the postwar period described her as his true
student succeeding his spirit unlike any other student of Sakata"
(after evaluating Sakata's development from cubism to orientalist expressionism).
Then he concluded that the main stream of Japanese art was victim to colonialism.
"The western world absorbs Japanese and other oriental styles, obtains
inspiration and creates original work. On the other hand,Japanese artists
are slaves to western trends. They lack the consciousness and effort to
draw from their most familiar Japanese traditions or to modify them."
Mr. Ogura supported Hiramatsu's innovation toward Japanese traditional
and their modernization. she reemerged in Tokyo and worked as a fine arts
after the war. She held an exhibition of her works there.
She was discovered by Shuzo Takiguchi, poet and prewar avant-garde educational
campaigner. So she got an opportunity to open her own private exhibition
Takemiya Gallery, which promoted the latest fine arts. Shuzo Takiguchi
modern and abstract painting to Japan. He was a superior art critic, active
before the war. However, he was arrested only for introducing progressive
art during WWII.
After Sakata died, Hiramatsu and two former members formed the group "Different" in
Tokyo to succeed A･G･O and held exhibitions. However, its activities were frustrated
by members' deaths. Although the works at the time of A-G-O were mainly oil
paintings, pioneering mixed media collages of sumi, cement, aluminum, and Japanese
paper were displayed in the gallery. In Japan paintings are separately classified
into oils and Japanese paintings. They are also classified as separate curriculums
in Japanese art universities. However, because Hiramatsu did not learn
in the university's fine arts department, her works were not affected by
such classification, so many of her works are unfettered by such classification.
"Private exhibitions in New York"
Hiramatsu made up her mind to become a world famous painter as suggested
Mr. Sakata. New York became the new center of fine arts instead of Paris.
She visited America in December, 1964 and after working as a teacher, stayed
in Chelsea, New York getting to know Japanese painter, Mike Kanemitsu,
and becoming his friend.Mike used the same studio as De Kooning (a giant
among U.S. abstract painters).Hiramatsu also shared the studio.
An acrylic paint called Liquitex hit the United States market at that
time. It had
superior coloring than the traditional paints available in Japan and had
a transparency.Its accidental effects produced by water dilution include
intricate color mixtures and an infinite gradation of hues.Hiramatsu used
Japanese paper in collage, since Japanese paper dyes beautifully.
Unlike oil paint that thickly coats the whole canvas, the technique of
water color on Japanese paper produces the unexpected. The same relationship
exists between Japanese paper and sumi. The unexpected lurks in blots and
blurs made with ink.
Beauty dwells in such areas.
Exhibition at AM SACHS GALLERY, Madison Street in January, l966. The colorful
collages in acrylics, Japanese paper, and sumi were novel works in mixed
Such exquisite expressive fields produced by dyeing, acrylics and Japanese
had beauty of color never before seen.
The critic John Canady of the New York Times wrote up this exhibition
bringing it to the center of attention.
" High-style collages in brilliantly stained papers, crumpled and
pasted onto painted
backgrounds. They could hardly be more ornamental, if they are nothing
more than something good to look at, neither are they anything less."
The critics also esteemed the traditional and oriental sensitivity in
Tribune, Art News and PARK EAST.
Though the compositions of those abstract works is bold, they suggest the
"yamatoe" created by Soutatsu Tawaraya, Hokusai and Hiroshige.
"miyabi" was shown to the United States, and traditional "yamatoe"
was reformed by new materials and techniques.
- Work 1 "Rain of 10.000 stones"
Materials: canvas, oil, acrylic, sumi, Japanese paper.
Mixed media work.
Hiramatsu succeeded in her exhibition at Gallery 66, Los Angeles in May.
she returned to Japan to create "The elegant Japan" using gold
and silver leaf. The
bold composition and color of this work bring to mind the work of Korin
other Rimpa artists.
This series appeared at the Ichibankan Hall Gallery, Tokyo, 1967. Their
were various including nature themes, for example twilight-lit snow-covered
landscape of the Japan Alps, etc.
- Work 2 "The elegant Japan"
Materials: canvas, sumi, gold and silver leaf, acrylics and Japanese paper.
Abstract rendering of Japan's nature with bold composition. The composition
spread over four panels resembles a Rimpa folding screen.
- Work 3 "Hodaka Mountain Range"
Materials: canvas, sumi, acrylics and Japanese paper.
One of a series on mountains. Hiramatsu praises nature.
- She exhibited at the American Culture Center in 1970, based on her earlier
success in the United States. Many visitors arrived at the exhibition including
States Ambassador Johnson, the above-mentioned De Kooning, director of
National Museum of Modern Art Yukio Kobayashi, director of the National
of Modern Art, Kyoto Tadao Ogura, Takeo Yamaguchi, Masayuki Nagare, Tamon
Miki, Shuzo Takiguchi and other celebrities seen in the photograph.
Contemporaneously, pollution problems and other environmental problems
began to attract attention in Japan. Hiramatsu also exhibited an equidimensional
series of 200 paintings on the theme of global environmental destruction
at Piner Art Gallery,Tokyo, 1971. A view of the natural environment as
an important element was itself primary to the culture of Japan.
"Private Exhibitions in Germany"
Hiramatsu lived in the small suburbs Krefeld, Dusseldorf, Germany for
years from 1972. She held many private exhibitions based on her works in
Krefeld is the town where Joseph Beuys, a leader of conceptual art, was
actually met Beuys there.
The problem of abstract painting was what she should depict. She thought
American painting seemed to reach the limit. Beuys advocated conceptualism
investigate the questions of what the artist draws and why. She received
influence from him. World art was trending from abstract expressionism
to conceptual art. She tackled first the Zen world, the opposite to her
themes during her U.S. sojourn.
Hiramatsu opened the exhibition in 1975 at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Museum.
Wemwer, the director of the museum, was world-famous for the contemporary
historian who scouted the nameless Yves Klein and published his introduction
works. Gisela Fiedler, the assistant director of the museum, praised her
exhibition's brochure that "She begins creating from the calm contemplation
spiritual concentration, meditation and deep consideration for the true
nature of an
object, not from the excited emotion or physical impulse such as abstract
impressionism or active painting. The western artists learned the eastern
philosophy,however, western people cannot become eastern people."
Hiramatsu created a white series which explored minimalistic whiteness
and created ink characters on white cloth. They echo the former yamatoe's
space with characters.
Although Hiramatsu dealt with the Chinese and Japanese syllabary, those
cannot be described as "calligraphy." The Chinese character emerged
in China to
express an image of the form. She returned to the characters' origin and
recreated her own new forms.
Then a character was no longer an established character style, but was
arranged on a canvas.In this way, a new writing freed itself from established
meaning and became an original orientalistic abstract arrangement.
The characters' meanings vanished, the established concept of calligraphy
broken into its elements and reformed by her.
This was art which expressed its own rhythm, free from adherence to form.
simultaneously showcased the world of "wabi", "sabi"
and "zen" hence the genealogy of Japanese tradition.
This event was taken up by the newspaper, Rheinische Post, and other newspapers
and they wrote that "Her works are created from the spiritual and
She is the envoy for the relief from the material overemphasized imminent
the current times." Soon, the Japanese traditional arts became an
attraction of public appreciation.
Then traditional arts of Japan came to attract more attention. Furthermore,
Consul General of Bon supported Hiramatsu's holding of exhibitions in various
regions in Germany.
- Work 4 "Zen"
Materials: cloth, sumi.
Magazine page photograph appeared in ART INTERNATIONAL, 1977
- Work 5 "Prayer"
Materials: cloth, sumi.
New characters were introduced in a picture formed by abstract conceptualism.
- Work 6 "Toutou"
Materials: cloth, sumi.
Flowing river water is depicted. The title is self evident.
Hiramatsu produced these ink works on cloth. Blots and blurs were freely
let form in contrast to her controlled Japanese paper works.
- "Original-form Black World"
She returned to Japan in the 1980s to begin to tackle the combination
of Japanesepaper and sumi.
Hiramatsu, being interested also in oriental philosophy, became intimate
Koushiro Tamaki, philosopher, Professor Emeritus at The University of Tokyo,
deepened her knowledge. Tamaki, an authority on oriental philosophy, wrote
copiously on the subject. He visited our museum and wrote the preface to
Meditation emerged in ancient India giving rise to Zen. The meanings of
"Shikisokuzeku" and "Kusokuzeshiki" (the most famous
parts of the Prajna Core
Sutra, originating from Indian Buddhism) are not a declaration of simple
resignation to the notion that "No object has substance".
What is the “object”? When a object exists in front of a viewer, its reflected
enters the eyeball and is synthesized into a recognition of matter by the
neurological system and its recognition as an object is merely a pattern
of electric signals.
Considering the object scientifically, its minimum unit can be visualized
nucleus and surrounding electrons. The atomic nucleus has plus polarity
electrons minus. On another level, all matter is known to exist as waves
electrical charges. Considering the object from quantum mechanics, no object
the tangible body that we visualize.Hiramatsu thought that god resides
things. She desired to express the spirit of the natural thing. In addition,
essential natural matter such as water, fire, stone, etc., her intention
being similar to that of the ancient peoples who drew them.
Art creation and nature worship are almost the same thing for her. Praising
as Creator leads to an attempt to express life in material shapes such
- Works 7, 8, 9
Materials: Japanese paper, sumi.
Beauty in which form is emphasized by the sumi technique of black on a
A further series of black works 7 to 9 focus on the sumi's black on a
Instead of "miyabi" and the white world being dynamic worlds
in the black series, the viewer perceives a world of calm. There is infinite
gradation in the black of sumi.
Furthermore, "Snow covered mountain", "a stone and water",
"drift ice", "clouds
and the moon", "heavenly body", etc. pursue sumi's special
These works effectively employ the blotting peculiar to Japanese paper,
techniques were fully employed to replace Hiramatsu's earlier deliberate
styles. As a result, work whose like has never seen before was created;
are not merely black surfaces, but have tones of delicate gradation, which
applied intentionally,as whites and grays can.
Those works exceed her intention, seeming to be naturally created through
ion from God via interactions of Indian ink, water, and paper. They inspire
the viewer to visualize the selflessness of Zen.
Her exhibition was held at the Ueda Ware House Gallery, Tokyo, l983. The
was the Shintoism of Japan with a further degree of abstraction. Groups
of big works
of up to 240 centimeters square were worthily displayed in the huge warehouse
After this exhibition, Hiramatsu got interested in the birthplaces of
civilizations and visited many countries of the world. In l987, she traveled
to China to visit the ruins of a cave Buddha statue. Museum in 1995. She
created works in sumi and exhibited a cave-Buddha-inspired series in Osaka.
Then she held an exhibition at the huge P3 Art Museum in Tokyo in l990,
on the ruins of Egypt. Huge works as large as the 10 m by 3 m "Valley
of the Kings"
Furthermore, Hiramatsu held an exhibition focusing the ancient civilizations
of areas such as Greece and Egypt at the Heidelberger Kunstverein.
The hanging-scroll-formatted 2.7 m length Greece group works were hung
from the high ceiling and were aligned lengthways in the hall. To experience
walking through the exhibition was to experience walking through the ruins
Hiramatsu traveled the ruins of the world where monuments used to exist
and now desolate scenery replaces once green productive land. Once prosperous
civilization obviously fell ruin. Urban culture forgets and destroys nature.
Where is a model culture which can continue into the future? Hiramatsu
thought that the model must exist in past Japanese culture.
Assuming that human-centeredness centrism in contemporary Western Europe
at a dead end and assuming that some seek to share a renewed existence
natural world, art must be broadly considered in terms of nature and in
human existence in the universe, both concepts beyond human understanding,
liberated from the confines of human consciousness. For Hiramatsu, conceptual
art issuch an outlook on the universe and the spiritual.
- “Sunlight,Gold,Moonlight,and a Silver Shining World”
Hiramatsu established "U- Forum Museum " in 1978. "U"
stands for "universe."
She began to create works against gold and silver backgrounds in those
A wave motion series was exhibited in Gallery Brocken, Japan, l994. Water's
motion is rendered in sumi on a silver background and flame's wave motion
rendered in sumi on a gold background. For example, the work titled "Wave
motion of water" expresses the water reflected light of water flowing
on the surface of a rocky mountain. It expresses the natural symbolism
of Japan's abundant water.
Hiramatsu's overriding theme is light. Silver expresses light with especial
naturalism. Silver captures the scene in front of a picture, like a mirror,
pictorial scene will change with the positions of the viewers. Moreover,
if it exhibited in a dark place, it will become black, and white, if exhibited
in a bright place. A silver picture shines and changes variously in this
way. Because silver is a difficult color to employ, silver pictures hardly
exist in this world.
Gold is the light of the sun which illuminates the familiar world, but
the silver light of the universe illuminates the moon and the galaxies
Furthermore, galaxies are not the stereotypical views of many stars strewn
an empty sky. Indian philosophy says that this universe began when the
wind of a fan blew into empty space. This wind is blowing in her galaxy-themed
works because their underpinning is the beginning of the universe.
As a small patch of white sand serves to express nature in Kyoto's Ryoan
the Galaxy series expresses the figure of the dynamic universe on a small
“The Japanese beauty in the world”
In her flower images, the artist wanted to express its beauty and to secure
ephemeral image into the future. While Western artists tend to draw a thing
as itself,Japanese artists consider the importance of its "place".
It belongs to space, and the object fills this place rather than exist
In Japanese fine arts, unfilled space is considered important because
unfilled space expresses "place". To Hiramatsu the square canvas
presented a drawing place for nature and the universe.
Hiramatsu's work moved from rich color in her U.S. period, to white in
period, black in her Japan period, and finally silver and gold in her old
She sought the most beautiful hues in the world, the most beautiful white
world, and the most beautiful black in the world respectively.Japanese
and "miyabi" became united in her final series of gold and silver.
Traditional arts trend toward stereotyping, and stall in their advancement.
Stereotyped form is one area of illustration, while Wabi-Sabi based randomized
design is an opposite concept. It can be said that modern art has stagnated
loss of the goal of artistic creation.
An aim of art is beauty. Each artist has to develop his/her ownpeculiar
Kazuo Sakata's guiding precept was that art should advance ceaselessly.
does not claim that because she uses traditional Japanese sumi and traditional
Japanese paper her art is traditionally Japanese, nor does she insist that
has novelty her art is avant-garde. Only because she could not find expression
existing techniques, did she create novel new technique
The Japanese traditional arts were given abstraction, equipped with beauty
dynamism, and recreated anew by Hiramatsu. Whenever Hiramatsu traveled
world, she discovered the "Japan" inside her.
Many intellectuals desired the arrival of a contemporary art which could
Japan's aesthetic sense. Hiramatsu realized that wish.
Refer to book “Nihonbi no keifu” Masayoshi Nishida ,Sougensha,1979
- Text by Asahiko Hiramatsu Director of U-Forum Museum