Tuesday 6 October 2015

Ikebana Today 40

Contemporary art is hard to understand, particularly for the Japanese. We are not very well informed about it. I’d like to talk about a few things that made me so surprised when I studied art. 

First, contemporary art is specifically about contemporary society and culture. It is different from art in general. This maybe just common sense for some but rather unexpected for others.  

Next, what is necessary in contemporary art? Is it beauty? I thought it was. But it isn’t. Beauty is important, but not necessary in contemporary art. This seems to be a point that Japanese people in general find very hard to understand. 

Takashi Murakami, a well known international artist, insists in his books, that many Japanese people don’t understand what contemporary art is. I don’t intend to explain in details as Murakami did, but would like to offer a quick guide to contemporary art. The crucial factor in contemporary art is meaning. If the artefact does not produce any meanings, it is not valued as art even if it is beautiful. I’ll explain a bit more about this aspect in the next issues.  

I used some of flowers from my garden in this work. Japanese quince and lily of the valley bush are among my favourites. By arranging flowers they grow, Ikebana artists enjoy the flower twice. 

I’ll spend half of October in Ballarat to create a large artwork for the Archibald exhibition at the gallery. We are also planning to have an Ikebana exhibition at Abbotsford Convent on 5 & 6 December. Please visit my site for the details.