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The 72nd KANO Mitsuo: On the Tips of Quivering Hues
June 17, 2017 - September 10, 2017
Since embarking on his creative career back in the 1950s, like a perennial seeker of inventive images Kano Mitsuo (b.1933) has continuously produced a wealth of highly original works. The scope of his creative artistry is remarkably broad, ranging from prints, paintings and objects to book design and stage sets. But it is in particular his prints, the very first form of expression Kano adopted as an artist, that constitute a prime mode for his image explorations, and among his representative works a formidable number are prints.
Kano Mitsuo began creating prints in his late teens, initially working in copperplate, self-taught after happening upon a book introducing this technique of printmaking. His monochrome etchings of dreamy images attracted encomiums from poet and art critic Takiguchi Shuzo (1903–1979), leading to the mounting of his very first solo exhibition in 1956. Kano’s print productions subsequently expanded beyond the traditional framework of etchings, and he proceeded to focus on matrix transformations derived from the effects of corrosive decay, moving into the realm of intaglio using anticorrosive film manipulated in diverse ways. These works, in which images suggestive of Protozoa or minerals arouse associations of substances or life formation, garnered high acclaim—illustrated by their winning of prizes at the Ljubljana International Biennial of Graphic Arts and the International Biennial Exhibition of Prints in Tokyo—making Kano Mitsuo a widely recognized name in the art world.
In the 1960s, at a time when his interest in matrix transformations grew, Kano shifted to creating metal prints, using zinc alloy melted by burner as his matrix and transferring its form to paper. It was at this point that Kano employed chromatic colors for the first time, whence as an artist his perspective turned toward considerations of color generation and undulating movement. From this time on he began using a wide array of creative methods, including color lithography (his Catcher of Lightning  and Illumination ), color intaglio (Wave Theory [1984–84] and Blue Lion or Moon: Finger [1991–92]) and monotype (The Tale of the Heike ), as well as relief printing and screenprint. Each of Kano’s numerous vividly colored prints presents us with hues created from among the infinite spectrum of color wavelengths, each representing a foray into fixing into his work the moment when the image itself was formed.
Kano Mitsuo’s prints depict instants within the endless transformations and flows of hues and the objects perceived from them; and, captured like the tip of an ear of wheat quivering in a breeze, his works have always indicated a fresh new visual world to us. This exhibition will bring together approximately 120 of Kano’s works spanning from his earliest period of creation through to the present, with a focus on prints that played defining roles at various junctures in his long creative career, giving visitors rich insight into the artistic philosophy of this truly rare artist.
Miyata 1, Shiota, Sukagawa-shi, Fukushima 962-0711, Japan
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (admission until 4:45 p.m.)
Mondays (except July 17) and July 18, Tuesday.
Adults 300 Yen, students 200 Yen.
Free for young children (through elementary school), senior citizens (65 and over) and the handicapped.
DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion and Center for Contemporary Graphic Art
Galerie Tokyo Humanité