Purified Air

Mr. Ienaga Yoshikawa walks rapidly with a bit of a stooped posture. He cocks his hat, looks thinking of something, and thrusts his hands into the pockets of his favorite cameraman's coat. From the sight of him, we imagine a young man who takes a stroll in the park or down the street giving off a feeling of a unique loneliness. Mr. Yoshikawa will become 76 years old this year (1992), but we can still see him walking like a young man and we can still feel heat from the bottom of his heart.

His works of art are more energetic than those of young men and they have new shine. His work in recent years has involved the creation of tightly-wound coils of metal wire. These coils are placed on a canvas-sized photograph taken by Mr. Yoshikawa with an even distance between each of the coils. In such a way that if the coils were connected they would form a perfect matrix. Mr. Yoshikawa directly nails coils of metal to the indirect expression of vision contained in the photograph. The silent inorganic linking of photograph and coils creates a world with a wonderful abundant words.

About the behavior of joining a photograph and lumps of metal together, Mr. Yoshikawa tells us with ease, "The nailing of coils on the panel is the same as brushing oil paints on the canvas for me".

After World War II, Mr. Yoshikawa was influenced by the effort of Informel at once. He published his work which had the same tendency to it as Informel at an art exhibition held by the Kohdo AJrt Society that he belongs to. Then, in 1962, he published the work which consisted of a continuity of a form which had a fixed sense of rhythm in the same society. His Matrix series had begun at this time. Five years after, this work was highly valued by Mr. Jenfer S. Bard who is an art critic in the U.S..

While Mr. Yoshikawa works, he keeps the establishment of the originality of the Japanese painting in his mind from when he only oil painted. He desired it stronger when he listened to the affirmation of Mr. Ren Itou, Mr. Katsuzou Satomi or Mr. Takeshi Hayashi et al. who were up-and-coming artists at a lecture meeting sponsored by the Dokuritsu Bijutsu Society in Nagoya around 1933.

His desire has not changed still today and it consolidates the foundation of his creations. He got many suggestions from Buddhist scripture and arts during his struggle against disease before World War II. They come into bloom in his works. The world of Mandala figure which is based on certain arrangements and forms runs with consistency through from his period using oil paints to the period using metal wires, springs, scores and photographs as material. We feel something of a purified air from Mr. Yoshikaea's world.

Yomiuri Shinbunn / 1992.12.4