Sunday, 11 October 2009

Sogetsu Surrealism

Today I finally found pictures of the surrealistic ikebana arrangements by Sofu Teshigahara that I promised to post. You'll find my last blog post on the subject through this link.

In the 1930s Sofu Teshigahara, founder of the Sogetsu school, started creating works that had references to contemporary western art. The first one I've come across is one of his most famous arrangements, named "The Locomotive". I'm posting it together with a Man Ray portrait of Marcel Duchamp, surrounded by some of his scrap metal sculptures in his New York studio in 1915. Sofu adds plant materials and brings the Duchamp reference into the ikebana tradition in an unexpected way.

The second work by Sofu that I would like to point towards is named "The Kyozo", which if I am correct refers to a storehouse for sutras. It's a mass arrangement made of drift wood and dried materials, devided into two separate parts. Sofu himself said about this arrangement: "I have intended to bring about a feeling of tension, or traction, between the two groups...".

This is one of my favorites. It invokes in me the dream landscape by Max Ernst in the painting "The Eye of Silence", 1943-44, which is a painting made in decalcomania technique. It has the same colour range and texture feeling as the avantgarde piece by Sofu. It even has a column of space through which you can see the sky.

"The Kyozo" also brings to live an old traditional style of ikebana that is rarely seen. The double shin Rikka has all the features of a classic Rikka arrangement, but like "The Kyozo" it has a split all the way through it. All the material used has to be neatly trimmed to give room for the column of space between the two parts created by the split.

I've found these works by Sofu in a book from the 1950s. I'm not sure when they where first conceived or what meenings they had to the artist. When looking at them I make my own interpretations.

Quotation from Sofu Teshigahara "Ikebana: Japanese Flower Arrangements" (undated, published in the 1950s).


Helena Kerzner said...

Very interesting post and a great blog!

nordic lotus said...

Thanks Helena. I'm glad you found it interesting.

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