Fondation Baur, Genève (CH)   17 November 2021 - 27 March 2022

Éloge de la lumière (In Praise of Light), Pierre Soulages – Tanabe Chikuunsai IV

Within the framework of its new exhibition, the Fondation Baur, Musée des Arts d’Extrême-Orient (Museum of Far Eastern Art) pays tribute to Japan and Pierre Soulages, whose masterpieces may be said to resonate with the Museum’s objects and the bamboo works of Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, the fourth representative in a line of master basket makers.  

Curators : Laure Schwartz-Arenales en collaboration avec Philippe Boudin (Galerie Mingei, Paris, France)

The master of “black light”, Pierre Soulages has forged with the "thickness of silence" attached to Japan, according to Junichirō Tanizaki (1886-1965) and his Éloge de l'ombre, a complicity which, although purely fortuitous, is nevertheless tangible.

The Japanese themselves have supported the various stages of the French artist’s career since the presentation of one of his paintings in Tokyo, on the occasion of the first Salon in May, 1951. They are fond of Soulages’ chromatic contrasts, stripped of any sentimental and figurative charge, as well as the imposing and calm graphic breaths, and the materials conceived and shaped to attract the light. In the lines of his “sign forms” executed in walnut stain, characterizing the painter’s early career, some see echoes of Far Eastern calligraphy; for others, the thick layers of outrenoirs (beyond blacks) evoke the depth of maki-e lacquers, where the darkness appears sprinkled with light...

The purpose of this exhibition is to show another dimension of the Land of the Rising Sun, this time through the lines, sound and light that pierce its bamboo forests.Soulages’ “abstract sculpture” born from “the writing of branches in space”, according to the artist, is met by the stems and knots of bamboo modelled in chiaroscuro by talented artist of international renown Tanabe Chikuunsai IV. Heir to ancestral traditions and techniques, and currently the representative of a prestigious line of master basketweavers, the Japanese artist works with plants from a new, sculptural and luminous perspective.

Works on loan

Peinture 130 x 89 cm, 24 août 1958
24 août 1958
Peinture 202 x 255 cm, 18 octobre 1984
18 octobre 1984
Peinture 81 x 60 cm, 28 novembre 1955
28 novembre 1955
Peinture 130 x 162 cm, 21 juillet 1958
21 juillet 1958