There is an excellent exhibition of ethnic art at the National Art Center Tokyo. The exhibition, “The Power of Images” shows a large number of works from The National Museum of Ethnology Collection. For any designer or artist the works on exhibit can provide a wealth of inspiration. I loved this yarn painting by a Mexican artist Elijio Carillo Vicente. Beeswax and pine resin is pasted onto a board and then yarn is applied into it. The pictures shows the rite to awaken the power of the gods, and a shaman is depicted sending the spirits of children to the realms of the gods. On the left side, the mara’akame shaman stands in front of a drum and conveys the spirit to the suspended altar. The children’s spirits are then taken to the realm of the gods by the eagle flying over the altar.
Recently visited the Francis Bacon retrospective at The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. The paintings have a raw, visceral, appearance, we are faced with the skeleton, the flesh and blood the grotesqueness and the pain. I was interested to see how little paint Bacon used. In Andrew Durham’s essay “Note on Technique” he quotes Bacon’s own words that the image is realised through ‘the transforming effect of cultivated accidents of paint’. They are produced from ‘a kind of pool of consciousness’ that becomes manifest in a plastic image. Bacon must have thought hard and struggled to control or subvert the subconscious marks into an image that was in some way correlated to what he was trying to achieve, otherwise surely the colours and marks would have become more numerous and polluted. I was also interested in the lines that Francis Bacon made to map out space. It is unusual to find an artist using flat areas of colour and yet at the same time considering the forms as contained, existing within a space. It is almost as if that for Bacon the forms and the space are one, they cannot exist without each other. The body occupies a space and the space needs the body to bring it into existence.