It was nearly half a century ago, in 1952,
that Gaston Bachelard declared, "The
world wishes to be seen." This was a
metaphor he used for modern painting, in
reference specifically to Claude Monet's
Over these fifty years, people have come
to unquestioningly accept the notion of autonomy
as part of the modern mentality. It cannot
be denied that in some part this has led
to an impoverished state of artistic expression.
The myth of originality too has contributed
to the situation.
During this period, what have artists been
seeing? Was it perhaps artisticexpression
itself or the falsified world of the artist?
Of course, the fault does not lie solely
with the artists. The ever increasingly speed
of development in modern civilization has
seduced many of us into a false sense of
seeing and encouraged us to forget that the
world we can see. The fact that pastoral
and other natural scenes no longer inhabit
our minds is obvious to us all.
Despite this, artists must continue "seeing."
What do they see? Will theycontinue seeing?
And we too must gaze at the actions of those
who continue to believe that there is a world
that can and should be seen.
Sasaki Naomi's paintings are nearly all a
single color. When, in viewing her vast canvases,
there is some slight change that creates
an illusion, an analogy can be made with
the sublime world that is manifested in the
work of abstract expressionists like Mark
Yet, the classification that is arrived at
through this sublime concept is none other
than a system of "seeing." Sasaki's
pictures aspire to refute preexisting concepts
In Maeda Tomoko's most representative works,
there is a symbolic flower-patterned veil
that hangs over a naturalistic landscape.
To return to my earlier point, naturalistic
landscapes are scenes that are repeated in
our memory or in pictures and appear to us
through manifold filters.
The sweet dizziness created by the symbolic
flower-pattern stealthily conveys this message.
Maeda's pictures reflect the falsified nature
of the things we "see" in a refreshing
To those of us who have forgotten how to
"see," the degree to which theworld
fashioned by these two artists strikes us
as revelatory reflects our own recognition
of the world around us.
Curator: National Museum of Art, Osaka
translation : Christopher Stephens