The river flows on unceasingly, but the water is never the same water as before. Bubbles that bob on the surface of the still places disappear one moment, to reappear again the next, but they seldom endure for long.
– Kamo no Chomei (Translated by Burton Watson)
From the end of the Heian Period (794–1185) into the early Kamakura Period (1185-1333), Japan was ravaged by war and political unrest as well as starvation, earthquakes, great fires, typhoons and numerous other calamities.
These words by author and poet Kamo no Chomei were written during this era, and at the time he compared the state of society to the transience of a flowing river in his writing.
The world is not a perpetually unchanging place; rather, everything in our world is only as it exists at that moment in time.
This reality, as pointed out by Chomei, seems to have remained an enduring truth throughout the ages, up until the present day.
The theme of the works at Art Fair Tokyo 2017 is "as it is". Personally, I hope to lead a straightforward and honest life.
I am thankful for being born into our current era, and I express through my work a wish for continuing peace into the future.
It is my hope that each and every viewer will be able to savor the dignified and transient spatial expression exuded by my works, and by doing so attain a deep-reaching calm that enables you to return to your natural form and mental state.
ー Hiroto Rakusho
- Hiroto Rakusho
Hiroto Rakusho was born in 1962 in the Nishijin district of Kyoto.
He first took up traditional metal leaf design under the training of his father, Jisaku Nishiyama, a winner of the Kyoto City Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution to Traditional Handicrafts.
In addition to carrying on the family tradition, Hiroto is active in the creative production of gold- and silver-leaf patterns as an art form, and he also pursues research in metals and yohen (a natural ash glaze produced when firing pottery).
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry certified Hiroto as a master of traditional handicrafts in 1997.
He is active in France and Italy.
Moreover, he has worked on a wide variety of creative projects, including the restoration of art objects and interior design at places like the Kyoto National Museum and the Nagoya Marriott Associa Hotel.
In his work for the Digital Archive Project, which is aimed at preserving cultural properties, Hiroto employs reproductive techniques never before used by any other metal leaf artist, guided by his own theory and experience.
He is thus able to preserve precious cultural properties, put them to good use and introduce them to the rest of the world.
His technique of reproducing old paintings with metal leaf has been patented.
In 2004, Hiroto was inaugurated as director of the Kyoto International Cultural Foundation.
In 2006, he completed a meticulous reproduction of the folding screen "Wind and Thunder Gods," which is a designated national treasure, and dedicated it to Ken'ninji Temple-Japan's oldest Zen temple. He also reproduced various pictures on the partitions located at Nanzenji Temple, Myoshinji Temple, Shokokuji Temple, Zuishin-in Temple, Nijo Castle and Nagoya Castle.
He has also taken part in a project to reproduce Japanese art works in foreign museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Seattle Art Museum.
Thanks to the project, folding screens and paintings decorated by Korin and Kano artists have been brought back home to Kyoto.
2011: Gold Leaf Kyoto Collection exhibition held at Bergdorf Goodman in New York
2015: Golden Renaissance solo exhibition held in Kuwait