Home > Text > Essay > Antonio Paolucci


photo : ISHINKI

Kan Yasuda : master of knowledge and beauty

"Minimalism" and "Animism": these two words are all that are needed to define Kan Yasuda's art, two words that - apart from being the key to an aesthetic criticism - are philosophical as well as religious concepts.

Minimalism, in art, means reducing the language to the essential, in other words to the "minimum". The small part that is all that is needed to give meaning to thoughts and sentiments. The great Japanese poets of the past knew how to compose the perfect poem - formed of just a few verses and words - to describe a flake of snow, a flower on a cherry tree, the shadow of clouds on the grass in the full moon of August, the flash of fish in water. Yasuda creates pure forms and, with humility and infinite care, has set up his unchangeable absolutist elements in the city.

When Yasuda's sculpture - which contains the true essence of the profound "Animist" condition even when it appears to be unconscious of oriental culture - is installed in a space, it becomes a live and almost sacred presence. It seems to invite the observer to contemplate it in silence.

Very probably some god inhabits Yasuda's marble elements; in his polished stone placed in the middle of Piazza della Signoria, in his enigmatic frames (or perhaps ideograms), that capture views ol Michelangelo's "David" and Ammannati's Fountain from one end of the Uffizi, in his large niche in front of Palazzo Strozzi, or in his valve that opens in axis with the Pitti Palace entrance door, before reaching the courtyard and garden.

Yasuda's sculpture manages to establish a meek and gentle dialogue with all the monuments mentioned above, though each work should be studied at length with a clear mind and pure heart to fully understand this. The artist has placed his various sculptures around Florence, like the men on a magnificent chessboard, almost as though he is trying to suggest a silent game of questions and answers.

When I look at the refined perfection of his great "stone" in Piazza della Signoria, installed below some of the most famous statues in art history (from Michelangelo to Cellini, Donatello and Giambologna), I realize that it is identical to river stones, polished over a period of thousands of years. It makes me think that this sculpture has been placed here in honor of the "god of marble", for this luminous white mineral has filled the city of Florence with splendor.

Yasuda's "Animism" is therefore his skill m recognizing and expressing the true essence of each element in pure and simple forms.

Children caress the great stone and young lovers have their photographs taken inside the great marble frame. This is a very good sign. It means that the public has understood the poetic art of Kan Yasuda, master of knowledge and beauty.

Antonio Paolucci
Head of Artistic and Historical Endowments' Office


Page Top