“Every work of art is the child of its time, and is often the mother of our feelings”. This phrase by Wassilij Kandinsky remained imprinted in my mind and my heart from the very first time I read it in “Concerning the Spiritual in Art”.
I believe that the works of Tsuchida Yasuhiko fully reflect this concept.
Self-taught, his art is the product of the interior impulse of his state of mind, often tormented by experiences in life that have left indelible traces along the way. Anyone who observes what Tsuchida has created, his vases and his paintings, will remain impressed by a language that carries within it the seeds of restlessness which comes from the lack of certainty and reference points that give a complete response to doubts about existence. His works have a soul. A soul that screams and tends to transform reality into a symbol of interior drama.
“I do not paint what I see, but what I have seen”. Tsuchida’s feelings run parallel to this phrase by Edvard Munch, a Norwegian artist who belonged to the early twentieth century Expressionist movement, though in different periods, synthesizing the desire to make visible what is unexplainable, which the artist represents with a spiral throughout his production.
The intent of his work is to constitute a diary and it is centered not only on the spiral, but on the symbolism of the window and of “bamboo”.
“He who learns to paint bamboo will take a branch, and on a moonlit night, will contemplate the shadow of the plant projected on the wall; only then will the true form of the bamboo appear” wrote Guo Xi, a Chinese painter who lived around the year 1000. I believe that Tsuchida is able to transfer this type of teaching into the contemporary nature of his creations.
In “Bamboo Collection” the artist uses warm chromatic combinations as intense as his Oriental pride, which seems to arise from a deep-seated psychological intensity and forces the viewer to scrutinize the painstaking decorations, which are reminiscent of the forceful symbolic decorativism in Klimt.
The bamboo thus becomes the symbol of Japan, in relation to the sign and the color which, in the works of the artist, create a dialogue in the rhythmic succession of lands and spaces that are distant both physically and in the spirit.
In Tsuchida Yasuhiko’s path, there is a totalizing attention towards the chromatic element and at the same time, a search to manifest its esthetic qualities and its slight existential nuances. The light emanated by glass is a constant presence, and it is the element which determines the creative event: it is the “light of memory”. Memory allows life to return enriched with its truest meaning and becomes impressed in the art work like an event in the mind.
His works do not reflect only his emotional and “spiritual” dramas. But also a taste for society and a strict relationship with the literary and philosophical culture of his time and with many masterpieces by great artists such as Mirò, Picasso and Rothko.
At the age of twenty, Tsuchida left Japan to come to Europe. He established his home in Paris, where he supported himself as a cook in a restaurant dedicated to Nouvelle Cuisine: an experience that proved very important in highlighting his creative capacities, thanks to the careful architecture of the food crafted as a visual work of art. After two years, he decided to travel through Europe and Italy, and took residence in Venice, a city in the ‘orient’ of Italy, where his sensitivity to art was stimulated by the incredible nuances of blue and pink in the sky, with the white marble embroidery of its palaces silhouetted against it. An important factor in his education was living near the “Peggy Guggenheim Collection”, were Tsuchida could “breathe” the influence of the twentieth century masters; thus my first impulse is to define his art as “Woven memories” of the masterpieces of this past century, but upon closer examination of these works created from the thoughts evoked by these great masters, I realize that the artist’s memory returns to the origins and seeks the essence of things.
Tsuchida Yasuhiko is a poet who appreciates the rhythm of lines and the music of forms, infinitely more than the form and structure of things. He seems to want to find light in the “silence of art”, the only thing capable of transcending reality to a superior and spiritually more elevated dimension.
Thus the artist desires to communicate a feeling rather than an object, to suggest rather than represent; it is enough to paint or shape a few significant elements, like in a poem, to awaken the spirit of the viewer, who must find the esthetic emotion within his own imagination.
Anyone who approaches these works with care and sensitivity, will perceive the complicated vibrations of Tsuchida Yasuhiko’s life.
Silvia Bonomini 2007