Impulsions – Group Show

‘School of Things’  

The Silk Route had unintended consequences, not much ties the rugged rock faces of Rajasthan and the cherry blossom horizons against the backdrop of the Mount Fujimori in Japan except certain pertinent whispers in sculpture.   Jaipur and Japan are woven into a tale of aesthetic interchange by four artists from Korea, Japan and India somewhere demonstrating the transnationalism of aesthetics that has been existent since the times of trade of silk.  Jaipur sat at one of the ends of the silk road that crossed over from the Thar desert and the Himalayas across to Central Asia, China ending up in Europe, the Korean Archipelago and the Isles of Japan.  Buddhism brought along with a calmness essential for mercantilism but also carried aesthetics that wove in an equilibrium of human interiority with nature.  Stone could be feathered down with metals, the perspective altered by colour and art where the visual hummed music.  

Impulsions is a collaborative exhibition by Jinsook Shinde, Vilas Shinde, Akira Yamamoto and Kenji Toda, a foray by four artists in performing their practice with materiality as the precursor. ‘ Mono-ha ‘ or ‘School of Things’ imbibes a Shinto sensibility in art where a contextual dialogue based on materiality is produced by placing stone, steel, glass, wood, cloth, rice-paper, leather and other found materials and objects to create an ephemerality demonstrated by nature.  Mono-ha was a school of aesthetics that emerged out of the decades of strife and war – 60s and 80s.  A Japanese way of looking at things that was inspired by inverting the outside – nature, into one’s gaze and practice became essential.  ‘ Impulsions’ as an exhibition explains the imperatives of the four artists who hold distinct practices.  

Jinsook Shinde, embodies this aesthetic with her strips of paper that she arranges into prisms that refract metaphorical landscapes, marbled paintings and Chinese calligraphy. 

Elements of colour that come from her adopted home India, the landscape of the Sahyadri Hills, all gather in her paintings, that she makes on glossy paper, cuts them down to strips and then arranges horizontally between two sheets of glass.  In ‘Impulsions’ her paintings present an illusion of stratified layers of clay or stone, colour gets drawn by the light refracted by the strips. Her works present a certain fluidity much like the wind.  Her paintings are sculptural and animated like kinetic objects but still static, she induces speed with colour making her one of the most important painters alive in contemporary India when it comes to technique. 

Jinsook Shinde represents a legend using a grinding stone to crush Chinese stone colours, her works truly present a very bold interior – a nature very akin to Korean women.  

She was born in South Korea where she initially studied for her BFA, she met her partner Vilas Shinde at the atelier of the experimental printmaker SW Hayter in Paris, colour prisms mark her practice specifically through her transnational existence in India – a returnee with the philosophies of what left from here through the silk road.  

Arriving at painting from printmaking Vilas Shinde has nuanced the colour wheel.  To paint and place colours aside each other is complex mechanism that requires observation and studied application of paint.  Abstraction in the Indian subcontinent often has been contextualised with spirituality and tantra.  Shinde rather has a practice that is action based where the placement of a certain pigment breaks the schema of a paintings allowing an aesthetic displacement.  In this exhibition Shinde counters the impulsion of colour theory through an astounding experimentation of multiple colours.  India is known for its experimenters with colour among the foremost being the sculptor and master printmaker Krishna Reddy, this versatility and lateral practice across mediums and materials represents a tradition of conceptual thinking native to the subcontinent.  

Kenji Toda is a Japanese sculptor who has mastered the ability to represent and perform the fragility of stone.  He presents this by placing steel against stone.  A piece of white Makrana marble fashioned as a sheet almost represents a cushion.  The steel takes shape that is formal rejected the anti-formal of avantgarde persuasions.  Eastern Philosophy is presented in miniature abstractions because the philosophy is present in the shape without being literal.  When someone talks about its presence here it is evident in the juxtapositions that allow the fragility, something solid that is not softened by intricacy rather by placement.  Kenji Toda has spent many months in Jaipur.  Jaipur has a tradition of craftsmen working on red sandstone and marble for intricate mounting of idols and temples.  Proportionality was lost to the electric stone grinder by making intricacy primal.  Toda rejects the primacy of decoration rather pulls us back to proportion by building a very human narrative, you can spell stories by viewing his works, its very animist folk-emotive.  

Akira Yamamoto balances stone as seen in Zen gardens. Buddhism arrived in Japan to imbibe the traditions of Shinto and Tao wisdom, sayings had to translated into the placement of trees, stones, wood and the landscape.  Japan has been blessed with pristine landscapes that is interwoven with violent natural calamities such as tsunamis and earthquakes. 

Japan is a society that venerates the volcano, one that often depicts it in paintings. Yamamoto comes from a consciousness that has historically seen stones being destroyed by water, nature taking force of our realm, it ‘natures’ and takes away in equal measure.  Yamamoto’s aesthetics clearly steers clear of the western leitmotif of formalism, but not as a nativist – we are living in a contemporary age our influences are manifold. He presents stone philosophically in time and space.  

India still sits on crossroads; it was not all lost with the end of the Silk Roads.  Okakura Tenshin and Rabindranath Tagore began the revisit of aesthetics through travel, practice and dialogue in the early 20th century, a conversation ‘ Impulsions’ attempts with its four provocateurs.  

Art & Soul Editorial.