SMALL CORPORATION_JP_18, collaboration with Marianne Müller, Japan 2018

MALL CORPORATION (Paintings # 64-72), Hotel Edoya Tokyo, Tokyo Prefecture 2018, photography 13 x 18 cm

SMALL CORPORATION (Paintings # 1-9), Bodaiju Ryokan Ōtsu, Shiga Prefecture 2018, photography 13 x 18 cm

SMALL CORPORATION (Paintings # 10-18), Minshuku Iwatakan Takayama, Gifu Prefecture 2018, photography 13 x 18 cm

SMALL CORPORATION (Paintings # 19-27), Skistation outside Utsubo, Gifu Prefecture 2018, photography 13 x 18 cm

SMALL CORPORATION (Paintings #), Amatoge, Gifu Prefecture 2018, photography 13 x 18 cm

SMALL CORPORATION (Paintings # 28-36), Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture 2018, photography 13 x 18 cm

SMALL CORPORATION (Paintings # 37-45), Kiyoshigekan Onsen Kusatsu, Gunma Prefecture 2018, photography 13x18 cm

SMALL CORPORATION (Paintings # 47-54), Shopping mall Minakami, Gunma Prefecture 2018, photography 13 x 18 cm

SMALL CORPORATION (Paintings # 55-63), Parking Yubiso, Gunma Prefecture 2018, photography 13 x 18 cm

A contemporary take on Japanese landscape painting which makes reference to Ukiyo-e and the tradition of painting eight views of a particular location. The paintings were produced in the course of a clockwise journey through Central Japan, beginning on the west side (Lake Biwa): Ōtsu, Takayama, Utsubo, Matsumoto, Kusatu, Minakami, Yubiso, Tokyo. The seventy-two paintings, shown below, were exhibited on site in a series of brief, impromptu displays, as shown above.

Ein zeitgenössischer Blick auf die japanische Landschaftsmalerei, der sich auf Ukiyo-e und die Tradition des Malens von acht Ansichten eines bestimmten Ortes bezieht. Die Gemälde entstanden im Laufe einer Reise im Uhrzeigersinn durch Zentraljapan, beginnend an der Westseite (Biwa-See): Ōtsu, Takayama, Utsubo, Matsumoto, Kusatu, Minakami, Yubiso, Tokio. Die zweiundsiebzig Gemälde, die unten abgebildet sind, wurden vor Ort in einer Reihe von kurzen, improvisierten Ausstellungen, wie oben gezeigt, ausgestellt.

Text by Sadie Plant, 2019

Two painters on a road trip through a summer in Japan, storm-drenched colours, water in the air. It isn't long before a pattern begins to emerge: arrive and unpack, prepare and paint, wait, display and document, and then set off again: Ōtsu, Takayama, Utsubo, Matsumoto, Kusatu, Minakami, Yubiso, Tokyo. Eight repeating rhythms: folds and tones, staging posts and elements, planets and immortals, islands and views, eight views of a journey through the colours of Japan.

The earliest "eight views" paintings, atmospheric works expressing exile, longing, and nostalgia, date back to eleventh century China: Song Di's scenes depicted rain at night on the Xiaoxiang, wild geese coming home, the evening gong at Qingliang Temple, the temple in the mountain in Xiangtan, snow in the evening on the Xiang River, a fishing village in the evening glow in Taoyuan County, the moon in autumn on Dongting Lake, a sailing ship returning home in Xiangyin. The titles make a poem, and the works inspired poets to respond with writings of their own. Wang Hong's eight views are amongst the oldest of such paintings to survive: his sequence shows wild geese descending to a sandbar, sails returning from distant shore, a mountain market in the clearing mist, a fishing vilage in the evening glow, night rain on Xiao Xiang, autumn moon over Lake Dongting, the evening bell from a mist-shrouded temple, and river and sky in the evening snow. Mists envelop all these scenes, not only the temple in the seventh view: they are hazy, indistinct, and monochrome, papers washed with ink in times of fading light, desolate, sans soleil; the colours of the earth, granite, sand, clay.

The mist began to lift and the colours came to life when the genre reached Japan. Hiroshige's eight scenes of Lake Biwa introduce the colour blue to his sequence of returning sails at Yabase, evening glow at Seta, autumn moon at Ishiyama, clear breeze at Awazu, the evening bell at Midera, evening rain at Karasaki, wild geese returning home at Katata, and evening snow at Hira. Twenty-first century Japan turns the colour up again, its streets awash with the flashes and flows of liquid displays, a polychromatic scale of iridescence, electronic, gaseous, superficial, superflat. But still there are the surfaces on which this detail floats, the blocks of which it is composed, the corners and the squares, the planes that come into their own when all the patterns are spirited away. These too are the colours of contemporary Japan: summer insect green, bush warbler brown, undried wall, unbleached silk, unglazed earthenware, yellow fallen leaves, thousand years brown, the underside of willow leaf. Make another list: long spring, sooty bamboo, hull of beans, black cray of riverbed, spring lobster, wet crow's wing, yellow dead grass brown, rusty celadon porcelain. Sometimes the names are slighter still: water colour, haze colour, dawn colour, dark colour, pale colour, small colour, hidden purple, old bamboo. Mix them yourself if there's nothing on the shelf: stir up the rich flesh of tuna, the green of miso soup, Muji's reds and browns, Totoro grey, Osaka loop peach, the nameless colours of the hire car seats, the mottled garage door, the tint in the hair of the man who works eight hour shifts in the corner store. Now turn down the resolution even more, cut the action, delete the code, stop the figures dancing on the screens, get out of the sun and into the shades, painting paintings, nothing more
sea, sky, lotus, mosses, ferns
long distance longing
too close
thunder greys, typhoon
forest greens, timber browns: cypress, cedar, pine, bamboo
stormy haze
lake, shore, boden see
tea, tatami, wooden floors
mobile screens, sliding doors
skylights, lowlights, hanging blinds
nori green
onsen steam
tofu cream
no blues
eight views

SMALL CORPORATION (Paintings # 1 - 72) 2018