Klangassoziationen 1997-2022 - 3D virtual exhibition by Galerie Biesenbach

Klangassoziationen 1997-2022

So, 08/21/2022Fr, 10/14/2022

curated by:

Hideaki Yamanobe
Klangassoziationen (Sound Associations)

Hideaki Yamanobe's painting must be seen in the context of artistic developments and diverse currents in 20th century America and Europe. The young painter, who comes from a famous Japanese family of calligraphers, is deeply familiar with the Japanese painting culture. He first studied the works of Cézanne and Cubism (with Prof. Ohnuma, Tokyo), then the painterly movements of the Western 'Informel' (Tobey, Mortherwell, Rothko, Gorky, Wols).

Kenzo Okada (1902-82), who in the 1950s enriched Japanese painting with aspects of abstract art experienced specifically in New York, became important for Yamanobe's artistic development. In contrast to the western tendencies of 'Informel', towards the complete autonomy of the picture - the detachment of painting from real points of reference - he took Okada's basic idea with him to Europe, that a work of art is only 'alive' when the reference to nature is perceptible as a ‘natural breath’.

In 1992 Yamanobe left Japan to find his artistic identity in Europe. The first 'landscape paintings' clearly indicate Okada's above-mentioned painterly intentions: they are the visualised breath of a characteristic landscape.

Since 1995/96, Yamanobe - standing entirely in the tradition of Paul Klee - has been exploring the meditative possibility of finding images for musical sensations. Kiyoko Wakamatsu (1914-95), whose late abstract period ("N° 1") shows a spiritual as well as painterly connection to Klee and Kandinsky - but also to Miro - must be considered as a decisive impulse for the 'new phase' of his work. It is not only the personal encounters with the painter that have a stimulating effect, but also the close relationship of both to music: Kishiko, Wakamatsu's wife, is a pianist, and it must not go unmentioned for the understanding of the 'sound associations': Yuko Suzuki, an internationally performing soloist, is Yamanobe's wife at the time.

Small panels of simple form provide the basis, conceived as resonating bodies as well. Painting grounds are mostly traditional Japanese rice paper and canvases made of cotton nettle, stretched on high rectangular frames. Mixed techniques of oil, lacquer and acrylic paints, but also old glue and pigment techniques, as well as Japanese ink and colour formulations (natural colours of the Zen monks) are used. With partly thick spatulas and the integration of unconventional painting techniques (collages, frottages) Yamanobe succeeds in creating a palpable materiality on the picture surface. In this way he creates an exciting interplay between illusionistic transparency and painterly three-dimensionality.

Light zones of varying intensity create atmospheric depth from the sensitively varied modulations and layered formal grounds. Through the skillful placement of contrasting zones occurs what the Spanish painter Antoni Tàpies called the miracle of painting: "...when dull and inert matter begins to speak with an incomparable expressive power."

In these immaterialised general tones - tempered from sparse colour tones: sometimes varied in earthy tones, sometimes chromatically saturated in broken complements, or laid out in cold and warm grisaille surfaces - signs are embedded that, in the moment of seeing, orchestrate themselves into pictorial sounds. Yamanobe uses the method of domestic calligraphy for this, but not the 'signs of meaning' of the old pictorial scripts. With a groping hand, he draws tactile symbols in rhythmic movements and invents musical symbols from the inexhaustible arsenal of purely 'pictorial means’, which sometimes oscillate openly, or remain hermetically and strictly enclosed.

This small world of simple forms: circles, ovals, crosses, angular and line fragments indicate movement in their extension, position or deformation and the unstable rhythm or stand in the field of tension of the lines surrounding them. Enveloping and filling forms as well as interlocking shapes and surfaces are deliberately used as 'contrasts of form'. They enrich the spatial conditions, create vistas. Unformed 'blotograms' and freely gesticulating line ornaments or broken trace lines in strict parallelism initiate sound progressions pointing beyond the surface.

In the interplay of form and ground, through contrasting and attenuating, overlapping and blurring, Yamanobe gives the picture surface the character of a vibrating resonance membrane in which sound chords vibrate and tones disappear into it, echoing in shadows, losing themselves in the indeterminate. This painterly-aesthetic scanning of the sensitive sensory space always remains suspended between passive acceptance and active creation of form, seeking an immediate expression for the sensual in the human being.

The serial arrangement of the coherent sound units into large-scale ensembles aims at an 'orchestration' of the rhythmic structures and tonal tones. In the 'in-between' of the individual images, the polyphonic intervals fade away into reverberations - the spatial distances correspond to the pauses in the music.

The overall conception of the sound creations may well follow the aesthetic considerations that Kandinsky paraphrased in analogy to nature: "Just as in music every construction possesses its own rhythm, just as in the completely 'accidental' distribution of things in nature there is also always a rhythm, so also in painting." ("On the Spiritual in Art").

Yamanobe's work is fundamentally conceptual. Only in this way can the dialogical and evocative process between pictorial unity and wholeness succeed. By rearranging the elements and contextual painting processes - which leave additions and revisions open until the end - the artist succeeds in uniting the final arrangements of the interval units into a well-ordered instrument of extraordinary sonority.

In their meditative orientation, Yamanobe's "sound associations" touch on areas of the metaphysical, encourage 'contemplation'. Those who have learned that the eye sees more than the superficially objective are impressed and inspired by the sensitivity inherent in the images.

- Wilfried Klausmann, 1997 -

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