Kotaka explores in this piece the layering effect of washi, Japanese tissue paper. Making his own washi is an intensive yet essential part of his work:
‘Washi, through every age, has been a vehicle for communication. Through art washi has the power to convey the Universe. Washi shows the Universe of myself.’
The Suminagashi works by Japanese artist Ryosaku Kotaka combine ancient Chinese and Japanese painting philosophy with imaginative contemporary. Suminagashi, (pronounced, ‘sue-me-NAH-gah-she’) is the name given to the ancient Japanese technique of decorating paper with ink.
Suminagashi is a technique which was practiced in Japan as early as the 12th century and literally translated means ‘ink-floating,’. The process is as follows: ink is carefully dropped on to still water and blown across the surface to create delicate patterns. Once finished, paper is lowered onto the water’s surface and absorbs the ink.
Kotaka produces his work upon ‘Washi’ (Japanese paper) made by himself. By beginning with collecting Kozo, (Mulberry wood), stripping and draining its fibers, to drying and pressing them, he produces a thin tissue paper able to accurately absorb ink from the water’s surface .
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