The silent music of calligraphy
Lines by Bulgarian poets inspire a Japanese artist
24 May, 2012
The poems Two Souls, Hailstorm and Spring by Peyo Yavorov and Hajji Dimiter by Hristo Botev inspired Japanese artist Kihachiro Nishiura to create four folding calligraphic panels, part of the Power of Prayer exhibition at the National Gallery for Foreign Art, Sofia. The show runs until 11 June. The exhibition features 33 artworks by the famous calligrapher, created through drawing on and rethinking of traditional Japanese calligraphy: Shinto motives, poetry, variations of calligraphic works by popular Zen monks. Kihachiro Nishiura spares no effort to attract wider audiences to the art of calligraphy."I searched to combine two subject matters: visual and music in calligraphy. In the case of visual calligraphy I used West-European techniques, characteristic of oil painting with its typical chiaroscuro, tactile values and colour. Primary means of expression in the art of calligraphy are dots, lines, strokes, movements and space. Of these, 'silent music' is composed - music in calligraphy - very much like an orchestra, where all the instruments play together to achieve the overall harmony of the piece of music. In a manner of speaking, music is composed of audible sounds, while calligraphy is made of tangible sounds. In an attempt to express music in my works, I use my left hand," the artist, who lives and works in the US and Japan, elaborated. Kihachiro Nishiura is the descendant of Nishiura Enji, founder of the Nishiura-yaki school of ceramics, which was highly acclaimed both in Japan and abroad in the Meiji (1868-1912) for its outstanding technique and artistry. Steeped in traditional Japanese culture from his early childhood, Kihachiro expresses the world of Japanese culture and arts in his own unique style. Besides, he stages exhibitions of incense, kodo; floral arrangements, ikebana; and chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony.
A talisman signifying: "Driving away of bad luck and prosperity." Photo: National Gallery for Foreign Art
Calligraphy signifying: "Mystical power."