Japanese art and homage to Yuzo Saeki via Paris: Illusion of time

Japanese art and homage to Yuzo Saeki via Paris: Illusion of time

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Yuzo Saeki was born in 1898 but sadly he would pass away at the tender age of 30. Yet, despite the shortness of his life, Saeki is one of the most intriguing artists to ever leave the shores of Japan. Hence, his one-sided love affair of Paris and the fatal final years of this artist continue to hit various chords. Of course, the artist chord bypasses everything but the emotional, isolation, and utter desolation angles can be felt deeply.

Intriguingly, the contemporary Japanese artist Sawako Utsumi is focused on the lightness of the initial spirit of Saeki. This applies to the first impressions of Saeki whereby Paris illuminated his spirit and opened up a new artistic and cultural nuance to his world. Therefore, Utsumi’s homage is fused by the initial heartfelt love that Saeki felt for Paris, while still leaving the impression of coldness despite her more light approach.

In the original above by Saeki, he painted this in the year that he would pass away from this world. The Church of Saint Anne is the furthest building in this art piece. Of course, this isn’t remarkable because it is the landmark in this art piece. However, knowing that death was near for Saeki then maybe the spiritual angle and bleakness of the original were fused by his inner despair?

The above is conjecture because Saeki painted other Christian churches in Paris. Despite this, the painting of the Church of Saint Anne and the foreboding skyline does hint at inner despair. Hence, Utsumi is seeking to bypass the timeline by painting a more uplifting version and imagining that this is how Saeki once felt about Paris during his initial period.

Albert Einstein famously said, “the dividing line between past, present, and future is an illusion.” In this sense, Utsumi aims to highlight the early warmth that Saeki felt for Paris, rather than the one-sided love affair that would entail. Therefore, the timeline of Utsumi’s “now” is based on Saeki’s “past” during his lifetime – rather than his “now” when he painted the Church of Saint Anne shortly before his death.

The last few years for Saeki were both tragic and inspirational in an artistic sense based on fear and passion. In a past article, I stipulate, “…by the age of thirty, he died in a mental hospital in France while being destitute. Sadly, the culmination of tuberculosis, a nervous breakdown brought on by overwork, limited means to survive, still painting outside despite worsening health conditions and other negative factors – all led to a very sad and tragic ending to the life of Yuzo Saeki.”

Thus, Utsumi creates the inner light of the first impressions of Paris that Saeki felt. Yet, she still paints her homage with a certain bleakness based on the original even if the color scheme is more uplifting. Hence, the delightful color scheme portrays the illusion of time and emotions through the prism of art. Equally important, Utsumi erases the ruggedness of the original by transferring a more passive approach before Saeki’s reality would alter the “altered state” he lived in Paris.


http://sawakoart.com – Sawako Utsumi personal website


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