A Walk Through Time - Solo Exhibition of Mitsuru Watanabe
A Gallery invites you to A Walk Through Time, a feature of selected works by Japanese artist, Mitsuru Watanabe. A manifestation of one’s freedom of imagination through a combination of cultural exposition turned into a satirical concept. The collection of work is that of a continuing pursuit of questioning the idea of being original–which may perhaps only be a mere fantasy–or in the words of Watanabe:
“I paint in a direction to other’s works in order to question the concept of being original, which may be a mere fantasy.”
Known for incorporating familiar fragments of masterpieces into his work, Watanabe uses oil on canvas, mixing both modern and classic to create a fusion of borrowed images from masters in painting ranging from Rousseau, Bosch, Pieter Brueghel, and Michelangelo. These “borrowed images” are grounded in the Japanese tradition of ‘shyakkei’ or borrowed landscape that utilizes nearby natural landmarks as the backdrop to the design of a garden as well as ‘honkadori’ , which is an allusion within a poem to an older poem which would be generally recognized by its potential readers.
Having his two daughters as his heroines, he transports them to the dreamlike fantasy world, to initiate a candid dialogue between the East and the West, the present and the past. As seen in Naoko Playing in Bosch’s Last Judgement, there stands a young girl holding her toys–a religious figure in one hand, and a cone of ice cream in the other, traipsing around a surreal world–a world wherein we are told of the failures of man, before slowly progressing towards the ultimate punishment for these sins–there she is naive, childlike, and in wander, but remembering Bosch's triptychs as they were intended to not only entertain, but also to encourage the viewer to lead a moral life. Perhaps it could also be a message of encouragement to the young Naoko as to the viewers to live a moral life. A corroboration that initiates the viewer to question and at the same, understand prominent artworks and then draw a personal connection towards these pieces–a freedom of imagination, where everything is accessible, and nothing is forbidden.