Happy New Year!


Notes: 01

Happy New Year to you!

Just after the World War Ⅱ, some Japanese calligraphers started to seek for something new, keeping apart from traditional calligraphers. In 1950's, they got attention from the Western artists. It was in the era of Abstract Expressionism. The calligraphers had a lot in common with abstract painters because their works were deeply related to "action". This connection became one of the most fascinating examples of the early postwar global art exchanges, drawing attention to calligraphy as a phenomenon of the global postwar avant-garde. They are called "avant-garde calligrapher" and their exhibitions were held in many countries around the world.Then, as the art movement "Happenings" became popular in 1960's, attention was paid to Japanese calligraphers as performing artists. In the late 20th century, Japanese contemporary calligraphers of the first generation were particular about lines and form created by accidental brushstrokes and natural effect by sumi-ink on paper.

After that, influenced by the exoticism of Japan and Zen boom, contemporary calligraphers came to get attention again from the West. In the era of globalization, their activity was mainly developed in the scene of intercultural exchange. But the Second generation was less involved in contemporary art compared to the first generation, because most of them followed the style of art which had already established by the first generation.

Subsequently after a long period of time, including some recessions, a new movement has emerged in recent years. Calligraphers who are independently seeking for their own way as a contemporary artist are increasing now in Japan. Their works are more conceptual with a very wide variety of representation than the first generation. The third-generation calligraphers incorporate a sense of time and society in the present era into their unique works. It is unprecedented that some contemporary art galleries in Japan came to hold their exhibition during this difficult period. In 2022, I really hope this movement may open the door to a new era in the history of Japanese calligraphy.

We live in an age where many millions of digital messages are dispatched across the globe. Yet for all this convenience and speed, the human quality of communication has been lost. Calligraphy is not only the figurative arts but also literary works. It includes messages. In the era of IT, I believe that many people right across the world are ready to look again at writing by hand, and Japanese calligraphy expands from a domestic art form into a global one.