Kan Yasuda (Fitzwilliam Museum)
KAN YASUDA'S WORK presents doorways between different worlds: between the worlds of shared social reality and the private imagination, between rectilinear man-made environments and organic nature, and between the cultures of East and West.
There are always cognitive challenges as well: the works talk to the tension between what we understand at present, and what we are just on the verge of apprehending. His use of titles for his work adds a new dimension to their meaning. He often sculpts forms that verge on the symbolic, leading us to question whether he is engaging in visual semantics.
In a number of his sculptures Yasuda stretches the conventions of the materials that he works with by seemingly morphing them into different media. He casts pieces in bronze which have the surface of raw stone; he adds textures to make absolutely certain that his work will be touched and experienced through a number of senses. He is especially concerned that children enjoy his work -- and encourages a child-like wonder of surprise and delight in adults too.
Tenmoku and Tensei well demonstrate many of the characteristics outlined here. The two pieces are separate in space, but are arranged as a dyadic pairing. The rectilinear Tensei ('Passage') could be interpreted as a portal, a door or window into a different world beyond. Its pair, Tenmoku ('Shade and Vacant') presents us with a puzzle: it could be an architectonic structure, or a symbol of some kind. It could also be a work of pure abstraction, dealing with the dynamics of form and space, involving a tense feat of anti-gravity (the middle post suspended in air from the lintel). This is the kind of open-ended meaning that is often so tantalising about Yasuda's work.
Sculpture Promenade 2012 brochure