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Expressions in Marble Works by Kan Yasuda

The marble sculptures of Kan Yasuda can be summarized as contemplative and serene. Where does this come from and what effect does it have?

It is probably necessary to think of the relationship between nature and man when a sculpture is found to be contemplative. That is because it is man that can make sculptures and that can meditate. Man can contemplate through art works that confront nature.

In this sense, the works of Henry Moore and Isamu Noguchi are also contemplative. The works of Kan Yasuda are a little bit different. Instead of a lofty, intelligent calculated personality, his works portrays the wondrous soothing attraction of appreciating people and interacting people. It can also be said that it is because the contemplation is disinterested and uncalculating.

This is also evident in the comments of his friend Isamu Noguchi. "Yasuda was fortunate in being able to bypass art and produce so fine a work, although he will no doubt insist this was his sole intention."

It can probably be said that the contemplative character was born from fusion with nature, rather than departing from nature or being immersed in nature.

This applies to the geometrically shaped sculptures, such as TENSEI, TENMOKU and TAKOO, as well as the large maternal and generous sculptures with soft lines, including ISHINKI, TENSEN and TENSHO. The poet, Makoto Ooka made the following remarks about Kan Yasuda's works.

"The stone always waits in silence. The sculptor is always being called by the stone, But not all sculptors can hear that deep voice." Kan Yasuda can do more than listen to the deep voice of the stone. He is the kind of sculptor that can make the stone speak of nature. In other words, instead of only speaking to the marble, by speaking to the marble he is able to make the marble speak.

Regardless of what kind of nature the partner is, the various stones quietly whisper through infinite time using their own voices that move between heaven and Earth and speak of the dignity of life.

There were no differences in the voice of the various marble stones that were displayed at the individual outdoor exhibition against the background of the urban landscape of Milan in 1991, at the exhibition located in the beautiful natural setting of Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 1995 and the exhibition in the old capital of Firenze in 2000.

Kan Yasuda went to study under Fazzini in 1970 at the age of 25. After leaving Fazzini, he spent over 25 years working in Pietrasanta, the city of marble. Henry Moore and Isamu Noguchi also studied there. He began his quest for inner reflection while learning about nature's rythms from Fazzini, respect for nature from Henry Moore and Japanese beauty from Isamu Noguchi.

Kan Yasuda made the following comments. "Sculpturing involves using the body to create shapes that have never before existed on the earth. I discovered that the most primitive of these shapes is the egg."

It is easy to see that the shape if the egg, which matches the infinity of marble as a material with the life of the marble which is born through the eternity of time, is the introduction to the methodology of Kan Yasuda works.

Kan Yasuda is aware that children are at the beginning of the period of the both mental and physical growth when there is no consciousness between race or regions of the world. That is why Kan Yasuda would like his works to be appreciated by children most of all. I don't know of the works of any artist that are appreciated and enjoyed by children in a happy vein as much as those of Kan Yasuda. The aim of Kan Yasuda is to have children feel human life allowing the marble to speak by having children touch his sculptures.

It was our intention to have visitors view and feel works of arte set in nature firsthand by placing the sculptures in the Teien Art Museum garden for public viewing. And the Italy in Japan Year being staged here in 2001 is the perfect opportunity for showing off the works of Kan Yasuda who has been studying his art for so long in Italy.

Masaaki Iseki
Director, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum


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