Tetsu Yamada, AECA: Member of Spanish Art Critics Association, AICA: Member of International Art Critics Association

Hiromitsu Kato, The Japanese Spirit, Between East and West

Under the cherry tree lies a corpse.
This novel, which begins with a shocking beginning, is the first part of “Under the Sakura Tree” by Kajii Kanjiro (1901~1932). The protagonist is captivated by the beauty of cherry blossoms. He felt the existence of “ugliness” on the other side of beauty. The main character was anxious about the beauty of so many cherry trees.
The main character was so worried about the beauty of cherry blossoms that he imagined that “the roots of cherry trees suck up the liquid that drips like crystal from the corpses of animals and humans, like a greedy octopus.
It would not be surprising if this was the imagination of Kajii Motojiro himself, who died prematurely of tuberculosis at the age of 31. Since ancient times, the beauty of cherry blossoms, and their fleeting appearance as they fall apart, has been a source of inspiration for the Japanese, sometimes violent, sometimes decadent. Now there is another artist who draws inspiration from cherry blossoms. Hiromitsu Kato.
While he was unsure of his future path, he happened to visit a Japanese painting exhibition and was so impressed by the works that he decided to pursue this career. After entering art school, he also studied Western painting, but his natural talent was probably more suited to Japanese painting. The materials used for Japanese painting are not suited to the profound works of Antonio Lopez, a leading figure in Spanish realism. He tried to learn from the classical works of Japanese painters, but he paid attention to Jakuchu Ito (1706-1800), a “fantastic painter” who combined realism and imagination, which was still unknown at the time when he was a student. The boldness that Kato learned from Jakuchu, while perhaps unconsciously incorporating the essence of the Western paintings he studied at art school, appears in his works as his own unique taste. He says, “If I only follow the tradition of Japanese painting, which requires a certain stylization, I will not be able to express myself at all.
I would not be able to express myself at all.
He chose cherry blossoms as the motif for this exhibition. Cherry blossoms are a landscape of his hometown Miyagi, a landscape deeply rooted in Japanese aesthetics because of its beauty and fragility. It is the root of Kato and the root of the Japanese people.
He did not treat the whole of a single tree, but boldly treated only the cherry blossoms. In Japan, there is a polytheistic culture called Shinkyo, and one can find mystery in even a single petal. According to Kato, this is why this way of depicting them is also possible. The setting is generally night. The background is black. Kato’s black is beautiful. It is not the black of darkness. Gold and silver are placed in the black according to his intuition, and this creates a wonderful effect that enhances each and every petal of the cherry blossoms. The position of the light and the sunlight also change the appearance of the moon in the background. Such black magic provides the perfect stage for cherry blossoms, destined to fade away, to burn with life in the midst of beauty.
At first glance, the work may appear to be an ordinary Japanese painting, but Kato’s ingenuity in subtlety creates the Kato style.
Beauty and death. It is precisely because we intuitively see “death” in beauty that we Japanese are attracted to the beauty of the “life” of cherry blossoms. The same thing can be said of the autumn leaves and wisteria flowers. The best moment in life is shown by something that is dying. I asked him what he wanted to do in Spain.
I would like to present my own world. I want to take the time to see if people can understand me.
I don’t intend to flatter Western culture even if I come from the East to the West. How the viewer feels is up to them. I am also looking forward to seeing how Westerners will interpret the work, whether they will see death in Sakura as the Japanese do, or what they will see in the beauty of nature.

2009 ~ Recognition

Flowers are popping out from the background of abstract texture, which represents opening.

The line is accurate and sharp, and the image has decorative elegance like the work Klimt draws.


Emil Memon (art critic)

Among the many painters I have visited to Valencia, I am a painter who conveys illusion more strongly.
Like the Western ancient saints in the Valencia Art Museum,
And, like Western craftsmen, they have high skills, focusing on the beauty in the mind, they are portrayed and depicted.
He says, “There are Buddhism in Japanese culture, we find gods in nature and draw it.”

From ARTEY LIBERTAD paper (Valencia, Spain)

Hiromitsu Kato’s work is in Japan between the 17th century and the 20th century,
One genre created the image of nature,
It was made by fine manual work like Ukiyo-e technique.
While influenced by prints, Kato Hirokiri pursues and expresses fragments of nature deeply together with western collages.

Valencia · Fine Arts Center (Spain) Exhibition Evaluation

He has excellent technique (technique) and expressive power, all nerves entering all works, and he has a passion.
It is important to say that Arco (the largest art event in Europe) and the contemporary art museum are the size.
From now on I will cooperate and I would like to connect Hiromitsu Kato to Arco.

Paca Carsi (art critic, art magazine editor-in-chief)

山田 哲 AECA:スペインアート評論家協会員, AICA:国際アート評論家協会員




「櫻の根は動物や人間の屍体から水晶のように垂れてくる液を貪欲な蛸のように吸い取ってい る。」

と想像するのだが、それは 31 歳結核で早逝した梶井基次郎自身の想像であったとしても全く不思議ではないだろう。古来櫻はそのあまりの美しさ、そしてその美しさが儚く散っていく姿は、 日本人は時として激しく、ときとして退廃的なインスピレーションの源となってきた。いまここ にまた櫻からインスピレーションを得ている画家がいる。加藤弘光。

アートをやりたいとは思いつつ、将来の道に迷っている時に偶然訪れた日本画展覧会に入り、その作品に感銘を受けてこの道に決めた。美大に入った後は西洋画も勉強したが、もともと持っている才能が日本画に向いていたのであろう。日本画の画材はスペインのリアリズムの重鎮アントニオ・ロペスのような重厚な作品には向いていない。そこで日本画の古典の作品から学ぼうとし たが、学生時代当時まだ知られていなかった写実と想像を融合させた「奇想の画家」伊藤若冲 (1706~1800)に注目し、先生方から変わり者扱いされたが、現在若冲が天才として受け入れられていることからも加藤の目の鋭さがわかる。そして若冲に学んだ大胆さが、美大で学んだ西洋 画のエッセンスもおそらく無意識のうちに取り入れながら、彼独自のテイストとなって作品の中に現れる。一定の様式化が要求される日本画の伝統ばかりでは


彼は櫻の花をこの展覧会の作品のモチーフにした。櫻は彼のふるさと宮城の風景、日本人には その美しさと儚さで日本の美学に深く根づいている風景でもある。それは加藤の根源であり、日本人の根源でもあるのだ。

彼は一本の樹の全体像を扱わず、大胆に櫻の花だけを扱った。日本には神教という多神教の文化があり、花びら一つにも神秘を見いだすことができる。加藤曰く、だからこそこういう描き方 もありだという。概ね舞台は夜。バックは黒になる。加藤のこの黒は美しい。決して闇の黒では ない。黒の中にうっすらと金や銀が直観にしたがい配置され、それが見事な効果となって櫻の花 びら一枚一枚ひき立てる。ライトの位置や陽の光で後景に描かれている月の見え方も変えてしま う。そんな黒のマジックは消えゆく運命にある櫻が美の中に命を燃やす最高の舞台を提供する。


美しさと死。直観的に美に「死」をみるからこそ櫻の「生」の美しさに日本人は惹かれるの だ。紅葉や藤の花なども扱ったが基本的には同じことが言える。死にゆくものが見せる人生最高 の瞬間。スペインで何をやりたいか聞いてみた。



2009 ~ 海外での評価



Emil Memon (美術評論家)


ARTEY LIBERTAD紙 (バレンシア、スペイン) より


バレンシア・ファインアートセンター (スペイン) 展覧会評価より


Paca Carsi (美術評論家、アート誌編集長)

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