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Tetsunori Kawana.

Finding form in his element


Master Tetsunori Kawana with Five Elements - Water.

Master Tetsunori Kawana with Five Elements - Water. Photo: Eddie Jim Advertisement  May 16, 2009

Japanese bamboo is drawing NGV art lovers outdoors, writes Denise Gadd.

LESS is more may be a guiding principle of ikebana, but Master Tetsunori Kawana has been inundated with volunteers working with him to build a major sculpture in the garden at the National Gallery.

Thirty volunteers, drawn from Ikebana International's Melbourne chapter and various Sogetsu schools in Australia and New Zealand have helped Master Kawana each day for the past 10 days to create his work Five Elements - Water.

Ikebana is the art of Japanese flower arrangement, creating organic and formal structures. A seasonal flower here, a few organic branches there and a subtle minimal creation takes form. The container, too, is a key element of the composition, with pottery often chosen to display the arrangement.

Master Kawana's outdoor installation, on the other hand, is of the modern era and therefore significantly larger than the traditional ikebana sculptures that grace Japanese homes.

It comprises hundreds of seven-metre lengths of Madake bamboo, split into thinner reeds for easier construction, then moulded together to create a graceful waterfall pushing its energy towards the gallery, a sign of good luck, according to Kawana.

A practitioner of contemporary Japanese bamboo sculpture and a member of the modern Sogetsu School, he was invited to create an outdoor exhibit for the gallery to complement the Melbourne chapter's 50th celebrations. It was the first chapter to be established in the southern hemisphere.

For the master practitioner, it's a chance to display his modern interpretation of an art form that has been practised in Japan for more than 500 years.

Traditionally an ikebana sculpture is put together by the lady of the house, then displayed in the entrance hall as a welcome to family members and guests for special events such as tea ceremonies.

Kawana, whose mother taught ikebana to young married women, says the arrangement must adhere to the strict rules set down by generations of teachers.

His mother, he says, was hard on herself when it came to creating her own arrangements.

"I would see her every day doing ikebana in the house and I'd say 'I don't like it' and while she never said anything I could see it in her back all the time. Because of that I hated it. Now I'm following my mother."

While the headquarters of the Sogetsu School is in Tokyo, Kawana teaches around the world and recently attended a seminar in Brussels.

He has exhibited in many cities, including Moscow, where he created his large waterfall installation. It was well received, he says.

"Ikebana is very popular in Russia (also Germany and Switzerland) as they are really interested in Japanese culture. On opening day we get so many people it's amazing."

Originally for the Melbourne exhibit he had planned to create the waterfall in water for more dramatic effect, but Kawana was advised that May in this city can be cold, which is why the garden space was chosen as more practical.

"I call it passage because life's work is a passage. Sometimes I make a tunnel that people can walk through using the five elements (fire, wood, water, metal and earth) and five senses, then my work is complete. You can either walk through it or around it. Otherwise my work is not complete. It's a pity people can't go through this but they can walk around it."

From a seasonal perspective, as the trees in the garden display more dramatic autumn tonings, so too will the bamboo settle in and harmonise with its surroundings.

"The colours of the bamboo are perfect going into autumn, the green going to yellow then gold, so people will empathise with the timing," Kawana says.

The president of the Melbourne chapter, Gwen Delves, is delighted that her approach to the gallery in 2007 to co-ordinate an ikebana event with its 50th anniversary has been realised.

"It's a privilege and an honour to have Master Kawana here in Melbourne to be part of our 50th anniversary celebrations," she says.

The deputy director of the NGV, Frances Lindsay, says the sculpture is "an evocative, amazing work and more of an art installation than what people would associate with ikebana".

"It gives a sensation of being a bamboo wave with these curly elements that create the sense of foam on the wave, whipping up into the air as the ocean might do."

Five Elements - Water is on display in the Grollo Equiset garden at the National Gallery of Victoria until July 26.

Master Kawana will demonstrate Sogetsu ikebana today at 2pm in the Great Hall of the NGV. The Melbourne chapter's floral ikebana exhibition is on this weekend at Domain House Gallery, Dallas Brooks Drive, 10am-4pm.



Источник: http://www.theage.com.au
Категория: Что пишут газеты | Добавил: ikebana (24.05.2009)
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