Japan, so far, so close...

 Paintings: Yutaka Imai, Tokuhiro KITAKATSU, Shitomi Murakami, Kyoko Sasai, Serge SAUNIERE Pascale VEYRON.

 Sculptures Sylvie RIVILLON

 November 5 - December 20, 2014



In September 1888, Vincent Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo: " Look, isn't it quite a true religion what they are teaching us those so genuine japanese who live in the Nature as if they were themselves flowers


Artists and poets of that time, have sensed, through the prints, a new way of seeing the world which makes vanish the boundaries between people and things.

They discovered a very different way of being present in the world, the exact opposite to the western culture conception in which the all-powerfull man stands facing Nature. In this new approach, on the contrary, everything communicates and is at one with Nature. The visible and the one who sees are merging.

The Western painters, since Impressionism, remember and have retained of the japanese lesson a treatment of space and time hustling the pictorial tradition of classicism: asymmetrical composition, introduction of movement and ephemeral and especially the importance of the void.

Since then, the dialogue did not cease between both cultures, one revealing the "oversights" of the other.

The exhibition "Japan so far, so close" attempts to establish, not a dialogue, but a resonance between some Japanese artists living in France for a long time, and some French artists, who are, to varying degrees, inhabited by this spirit.

Yutaka Imai, Shitomi Murakami, Kyoko Sasai, Tokuhiro Kitakatsu, have kept in their "French" work, the powerful echo of the many facets of their original culture.

Pascale Veyron, Serge Saunière, Sylvie Rivillon, each with his own approach, come and compose, just as a counterpoint, a harmony that does not exclude intense contrasts.



 Yutaka IMAÏ

 The tumult and the vanity of the world vanish when facing Imai's work. Almost nothing to see, yet this is enough to fascinate the regard. From darkness to light, from one shade to another, in small successive strokes, silent transformations are settling imperceptibly. His painting technique's meticulousness, acting with slow and repetitive gestures, recall the asceticism of Zen monk raking the paths of his monastery. Thus, contemplating Imai's work, the void is invading us, and may be are we reaching a while of eternity




 Kitakatsu was born in Kobe in 1926 and moved to France in 1970. He left us in 2011.

"Japan, so far so close," No one better than him can embody this expression. His work is in the crossroads of influences of that was called, after 1945, the "New School of Paris", dom


inated by the "non-figuration", often called "abstract". His obvious talent as a colorist, for example, reminds M.Estève and we also know he was very close to Jean Bertholle. but the extreme delicacy of his compositions, the subtle harmony of colors, reveal his homeland that, in fact, he has never left in his mind. Kitakatsu living in France, was open to the outside and paradoxically was locked inside of himself, letting his work speak of some basic features of Japanese aesthetics, movement and fluidity, elegance and refinement.







At first,the large red paintings of Shihomi Murakami and the great flower rods from Kyoko Sasaï may disconcert: such a large void and some randomly traces! But we soon realize that we are not in front of a nothingness, the energy is there, in the heart of the pictorial material. To approach S. Murakami's and K. Sasai's works, we have to reverse our gaze. Western painting does not ignore the void. But it is used to highlight the full. Here, however, it's the void that makes sense..The Kyoko Sasai's lined up stems do exist only for making alive the space between them. A sign, a stain, a motif, assert themselves and withdraw immediately, then remain only the traces of a game of appearance-disappearance in a vibrant pictorial material, which illuminates the picture. The force of the void inhabits the space of the canvas and gives it its dynamic...


Eight years of living over there... No doubt, Serge Sauniere is inhabited by Japan. To define his work is impossible. What he gives to see is before and beyond all determination. He seizes the world out of its distinctive features and of the exiguity of its phenomena. The ink, water and paper, under the pressure of the paintbrush, is looking for a fragile harmony always on the verge of dissolution. The paintings, by contrast are slowly elaborated, by successive transparencies, layer after layer. Paradoxically, they leave an impression of great spontaneity. The silence, the wind, the light and shadow, primordial and evanescent elements gush out of each painting and they engage us in a deep meditation.


Pascale VEYRON

 The eye does not travel in a Pascale Veyron's painting, it contemplates, itmeditates. Similarly, the dry gardens in Japanese temples are not made for the stroll: the stones seem to be placed here and there, randomly, and the visitors in a hurry cannot perceive the subtle arrangement that leads the mind to meditation. Pascale Veyron's mineral painting, with her almost motionless

"pebbles", between heaven and earth, opens the primordial way to our union with the universe. Her ceramics, very Japanese in the simplicity of their form, and sometimes in their roughness, encourage us to feel in ourselves the echoes of the Earth.




 As an opposite and complementary energy, the solid balance of Sylvie Rivillon's sculptures brings to this Franco-Japanese dialogue a contrast effect. Wood, clay, marble, bronze, all elements are called to exalt the fullness of the universe. Horizontal, vertical, oblique and curved, all dimensions of space combine themselves in a strict and harmonious architecture that is not lacking however in mystery.

The boxes, cubes compact and nailed, contain an improbable core of secret, inaccessible forever. Undulating waves that came out of nowhere penetrate into rigorous constructions. Arches and doors, passages towards other lands open the way to further encounters, even far from Japan.



Yutaka Imai

Born in Japan, studied at Musashino, Fine Art school, Tokyo.

Recent exhibitions; Toho Art Gallery in Tokyo - Takashimaya Gallery (Inncent) Tokyo - Nagoya, Osaka - Art Capital ( salon Comparaisons), Paris - Galerie ART aujourd'hui, Paris - Gallery The red dot Grimaud.

 Tokuhiro Kitakatsu

Born 1926 in Kobe (Japan). He settled in France in 1970 and died there in 2011.

From 1952 to 1964, numerous exhibitions in Japan. From 1970 to 2007 group and solo exhibitions in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg including: Salon d'Automne (Paris) - Galerie Jean-Louis Roque (Paris) -  Eclectic Gallery (Brussels) - Bettie Thommen Gallery (Basel) -  Municipal Gallery of Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg).

 Shitomi Murakami

 Born 1941 in Osaka, Japan. Lives and works in Paris since 1994

A graduate of theFine Art School in Musashino, Tokyo.

Exhibitions: International Exhibition of Scenography, Tokyo.

Exhibition of Scenography Japan Today, Beijing, Shanghai. - Galerie de l'Europe, Paris. - Salon de Montrouge - Grands et Jeunes d'Aujourd'hui, Paris, Luxembourg. - Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris - Week of Contemporary Art, Saint-Mande. - Collection Colas Foundation, Paris.

Kyoko Sasai

Lives and works in Paris since 1994. Masters in Fine Arts in Musashino, Tokyo


From 1997 to 2003 Galerie de l'Europe, Paris.

Salons: de Mai - Salon de Montrouge -Grands et Jeunes d'aujourd'hui - Réalités Nouvelles. Paris.

Serge Sauniere

 Born 1947, lives and works in Paris. A graduate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The scholarship that he got in 1980 for a study tour in Japan, will determine the direction given to his painting and his life. He will return in his country of choice from 1986 to 1988 and has taught at the architecture school of Versailles since 1999 and has exhibited many times in Japan. Numerous exhibitions in Spain and France in many galleries including Mac Paris.

Pascale Veyron

Born 1959; lives and works in Paris. 1980 graduate of the NADS Limoges (ceramics). 1990 Bachelor of Visual Arts University of Paris VIII.

Galleries: Brigitte Griffault, Montauban, since 1996 - Eric Dumont, Troyes, since 2005 - House of the Muses, Rueil-Malmaison since 2003 - Art of the time, Cleon Andran, Drôme, .ART aujourdhui, Paris.

Numerous solo and group exhibitions, including salon MAC-Paris .

Sylvie Rivillon

Born 1959 in Chelles (77). A graduate of the "Ecole d'Arts Appliqués" in 1978 and from the "Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts. Decoratifs" (ENSAD) in 1983 Assistant 1984-1986 at ENSAD, sculpture section. Since 1990, lives and works in the south of France. Numerous exhibitions and symposiums in France, Spain, Japan.


Some pictures of the exhibition: