8th Contemporary Japanese Sculpture Exhibition

Poetry in sculpture

Sadaichi Hijikata

  When we look at sculptures or paintings, we often feel that they are literary or poetic works. Needless to say, this must be felt as literary or poetic from an atom sphere, which has the sculpture or modeling of a painting. It is doubtful that the artist is conscious of only the psychological atmosphere that emanates from such a work, and it goes without saying that the author aims at constructing the modeling, not the atmosphere. Nor.

  Kotaro Takamura (1883-1956), a sculptor and poet, once described his poem as follows.

  ”I write poems to protect my sculpture. To make my sculpture pure, to prevent it from being contaminated with other molecules, to make it independent of literature. I write poems, I have a desire for expression that is probably out of the scope of sculpture, and I can’t do anything about it… I noticed this stupid sculpture illness At that time I came to think that I could protect my sculpture by writing a tanka on Tsuhi…..I thought my poem was a safety valve for myself. It’s not an extra skill.”

  Kotaro Takamura, when referring to “the illness of this stupid sculpture”, seems to be talking about the atmosphere or the literary subject that emanates from the sculptural modeling. However, Kotaro Takamura, who was tired of talking about himself, said nothing more about sculpture and poetry. But I imagine the problem is a confusion between the sculptural formality and the poetic atmosphere that emanates from it. Because Kotaro Takamura had a sentimental literary atomosphere such as “Lion hole” (Meiji 35) or “Thin life child” (Meiji 38) in the art school graduation work before going to Europe. When I think that I am making a work that I have not done yet, among Kotaro Takamura, “writing poetry to make the sculpture independent of literature” conversely restricted himself to Kotaro Takamura’s sculpture. So it seems to me. It is not the place to talk about Kotaro Takamura, but there is an example where Kotaro Takamura’s, so to speak, plasticism, narrows Kotaro Takamura’s imagination. Because the psychological atmosphere that naturally diverges from sculpture modeling seems to me to be a good sculptural attribute.

  Let’s take a step away from Kotaro Takamura and consider the sculpture modeling and the psychological relationship that it diverges, a little more concretely.

  It goes without saying that the origin of the sculptor’s creation lies in the sculptor’s imagination, but the content of this imagination has various layers. For example, the German sculptor Wilhelm Lenbruck (1881-1919), who committed suicide in 1919, produces lyrical works with Gothic proportions, The war monument “The Fallen” (1915-16), which was accused of its reputation at the time, is a completely non-heroic and deeply thoughtful piece of work, and Lenbrooke was in a poem Then, the same idea is expressed as follows.

Who remains,
who stands alive, the monument to the slaughter or
who rises from the sea of ​​blood
I ‘m crossing the stump’s field
and looking around I’m
terrified by the slaughter. Whether or not the reaping is widened,
my friends lie peacefully everywhere I go, my
brothers are no longer beside me,
and trust and hope are away from me,
every road separated from me, every flower dies. It’s
fate because I’ve covered it ! Oh, it’s a cruel fate! Isn’t
my death that allowed so many to die ?
January 1918

  Henri Laurence (1885-1954) also found that on a dark day when France was occupied by Germany, A dramatic shock of collapse, a psychological shock that is completely different from the sculptures with a severe construction of the past, such as “Lardue” (1914, Paris Museum of Modern Art). I am making symbolic sculptures. Here is an example where the psychological content of the sculptor’s imagination, such as Renbrook’s and Lawrence’s, is produced as a work. However, Renbrook describes the severity of the sculptor’s construction:

  “Every art is an expanse. That is all of the art. In the human body, the proportion determines the impression. The effect is a physical expression, the lines, the contours are everything. Yes, so a good sculpture must have a good composition, as the architecture responds to the expanse.

  Like Renbrook or Lawrence, the psychological content of the sculptor’s imagination has a sharp modeling mechanism behind it, and the psychological atmosphere emanating from the work appears in various aspects. I am talking about that.

  For example, taking Constantine Brancus (1876-1957), Brancus not only gives the sculpture a meaningful poetic name, but Brancus himself describes the problem as follows: ..

  ”Bird, it is a construction that must be spread to fill the heavenly blue sky.”

  Brancus’s imagination psyches his sculpture in accordance with Brancus’s mysticism, which is harmonious. At the same time, he is sometimes fantastic.

  When the artist’s imagination becomes a surrealist writer, it becomes even more mysterious or fantastic.

  Take, for example, Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) “Palace at 4 AM” (1932-33, wood, glass, wire, thread, New York Museum of Modern Art).

  In Giacometti’s work, there is a purely basic form that constantly seeks words to describe the relationship between sculpture and space. And that relationship is always freely associated with fantasy. In that sense, the basic form is a major element in the mysterious spatial relationship, as in the work by Joan Miró (1893-) or Jean-Alpes (1887-1966). Giacometti talks about the “Palace at 4 AM” as follows:

  ”I am spinning in space. I meditate in space at noon, and meditate around the flowing silvery stars around me. It pleases me and is fascinated by the living composition in its surrealities: the beautiful palace, the black, white and red tiled floors at my feet, the numerous pillars. , A smiling air ceiling, a precision mechanism that is of no use.” (1933)

  Thus, the surrealists’ imagination has free thought in a fantastic space, and Giacometti. Atmospheres radiating from each form, whether it be Milo or Alp, show various appearances.

  When we talk about poetry in sculpture, the atomosphere emanating from it, which has the inevitable free and close structure (form) of the sculpture itself, can be called poezy. However, behind the sculptor’s imagination, a broader sense of literary imagination often dominates. For example, in the imagination of Henri Laurence, Greek mythology is the background: Henry Moore tells the mystery of the hole in the hill, and Brancus has a mysterious view of the world, as always. Needless to say, the poetic imagination lies behind the creation.

 (Addition) The citation of the author’s words is based on Carola Giedion-Welcker: Contemporary Sculpture.

(Chairman of the Japan Museum Planning Council)