Nippon Art

08/01/2005 – Pinakotheke –Rio de Janeiro – Book – Nereide Schilaro Santa Rosa

Nippon Art, a meeting that worked out (Click to see the original article)

The route of Brazilian art crosses the paths of immigration. One cannot deny the importance of immigrant artists who helped in the development of the arts in the twentieth century. Italian, Spanish and Japanese mainly contributed to the artistic evolution that has seen over the past century in our country.
The motivation that art aroused in those individuals who were away from their homeland is overwhelming proof that art has no boundaries or barriers. That the language of those who express is universal and engaging, and beyond time and space over the line and form.
Let’s look at a brief overview of the Brazilian art even without the presence of Japanese and immigrants in general. Lacked little time for Brazil celebrates its 400 years. In the arts predominant themes related to historical facts of the time; painted up scenes of customs and people of the imperial court. But some Brazilian artists in the late nineteenth century already represented in their authentically Brazilian themes screens; the farmer, their way of life, their environment, their work.
However, in the early twentieth century Modernism was born, the most important Brazilian art movement. The modern Brazilian art in the early twentieth century was characterized the rescue of national culture. There was a concern about maintaining the nationalist character. But where modern painters sought their inspiration? His ideas and ideals are reflected as expressing the Brazilian man, their manifestations, their customs, their sounds and their images.
And this man, interbred, the immigrant blood fruit, became subject to modern art. Was digested and transformed into living art, rich, dynamic. That was the way to assimilate and expressing cultures, and show the world what being Brazilian. That was the central thought of all. The modernists strove to rescue the national culture through different languages and formats. The Villa-Lobos’s music, plastic Tarsila do Amaral, Oswald de Andrade’s poetry, the sculpture of Victor Brecheret and many others, made an artistic revolution that extended influence in the productions of artists in Brazil.
The Modernist movement in Brazil strengthened the arts and artists. Halls, exhibitions, reviews and reflections on art were part of daily life as cities of Rio de Janeiro, Recife, São Paulo, and sometime later, Belo Horizonte. The artistic movement was so intense that the art of painting was valued and enriched every moment by new artists and proposals. As a result, from the 1930s, Brazilian artists began to worry about addressing the social problems of the country. Naturally emerged associations and groups of artists who organized themselves to study, research, exchange information and strengthen their work. Both in Rio de Janeiro and in São Paulo, the arts were in full development, with emphasis on the participation of immigrant artists, since their presence was very significant, especially in São Paulo. Groups like St. Helena, Bernardelli Nucleus, and Artistic Family were organized in search of strengthening the role of the arts in the midst of social, political landscape of that period. Of course those immigrants could not move away from all this movement, it was natural to approach the arts, as occurred.
The 1930s and 1940s in the twentieth century are crucial to the Japanese culture in Brazil. It was precisely at this time that a group of Japanese artists stood out because of its initiative to study, exchange ideas and share their artistic experiences. Yoshiya Takaoka already attended the Santa Helena Group in downtown São Paulo since 1931. Formed mainly by Italian and Spanish artists, it did not take long to realize that the Nipponese presence in the city was striking, which led him to find his countrymen interested in art.
“The delegation of Japanese artists who formed and maintained the School of Japanese painting in Sao Paulo, recognized and appreciated, today. Yoshiya Takaoka was the master. One of the first to settle in the capital, and therefore precursor and indicator of how to behave to the friends that went to the city. To many colleagues was the friendly teacher. One who, with extraordinary experience in pictorial art and watercolor provided assistance to them. In good temperament, patient, always ready to provide its remarkable aid in all directions, it can be said that Takaoka represented in São Paulo in the 1930s and 1940s, a characteristic figure. Professor of many young people, among them the great Mabe when he came from Lins, Jorge Mori, Wega. His painting exercised in the picture and the landscape with bravery and eastern sensibility but very integrated into Western ways: a Japanese spirit, developing its activity in the metropolis, which owes much respected, loved sincerely for all who attended, reserved, a being that Carlyle would have put. in the sector of the silent, tacit, dear Takaoka leaves a grateful remembrance and an artist name among the best that Japan gave Brazil. ” Pietro Maria Bardi words in presenting Yoshiya Takaoka: life, deeds, affidavits. Edition Art Museum of Sao Paulo SP, 1980.
In 1935, Takaoka and his friends Hajime Higaki, Shigeto Tanaka, Takahashi, Tamaki and Tomoo Handa, decided to found an artistic group. Meet monthly to study Brazilian and contemporary art, and reflect on their works. All were immigrants from different locations of Japan. Initially, some were living in the state of São Paulo and then came to the capital, others have studied at the School of Fine Arts. In large, urbanized and rapidly developing city, the Japanese language and the dialects of different regions of Japan approached them, beyond the interest in painting, sculpture and set design. The meetings were held in the basement of a pension where Handa worked in Alagoas street, 32, in the district of Higienópolis in São Paulo. The group was called São Paulo Bijitsu Kenkyu Kai-Seibi (Visual Arts Study Group in São Paulo) or Seibi-kai, or, as it became known, Seibi Group often restricted to Nipponese. A feature of the group was the production of self-portraits and landscapes characteristic of a figurative painting style that prevailed under a strong influence of academic art. The artists of Seibi Group, although discrete, participated in the events and art movements that eventually took place in the city.
One year on, Takaoka moved to Rio de Janeiro and participated in another group, now with the presence of Brazilian artists, called Core Bernardelli where he studied with Bruno Lechowsky. But in São Paulo, the Seibi Group continued its activities and held its first and only exhibition of this phase, at the Japanese Club, in the year 1938. However, one fact came disrupt their work. From Brazil’s entry into World War II alongside the allies in 1942 against Japan, the colony and, consequently, the Nipponese artists living in Brazil felt the effects of the conflict, restricting their presence in all sectors of society. The group would only return to their activities years later, in a second phase.
The advent of World War II, in addition to causing a gap in the activities of Seibi Group, provoked another interesting consequence of the development of Japanese-Brazilian art. The coming of Tadashi Kaminagai, a renowned Japanese artist and former Buddhist student, Brazil more specifically in Rio de Janeiro. On December 7, 1941, while Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Kaminagai landed in Rio de Janeiro. Brought a letter of recommendation Foujita painter of the School of Paris, already renowned Brazilian painter Candido Portinari. Kaminagai merged the oriental look to European since it became the pioneer of the new School of Paris in our midst. Landscape figurative, not adhered to abstraction, as with so many other of his colleagues. He went to live in Santa Teresa where you installed a studio that also functioned as a workshop frames. Since then, began teaching, and among his students would stand out a new generation of Brazilian artists: Inimá Paula and Japanese Flavio-Shiró and Tikashi Fukushima, among others. The first solo exhibition of Kaminagai happened around 1945, organized by Candido Portinari at the Hotel Serrador in Rio de Janeiro.
Meanwhile, young Japanese called Tikashi Fukushima reaches the capital from the interior of São Paulo, more precisely the city of Lins, where he had met another young man named Manabu Mabe. In São Paulo, Fukushima was interested in learning a new profession: to make frames. Heard about Kaminagai and moved to Rio de Janeiro. Immediately began attending his workshops with who would become a student, and with who learn to build those structures.
World War II finally ended, and São Paulo, in 1948, the Seibi Group resumed their meetings as a studio collective and more, its artists began to give painting lessons. In the following years, both as Takaoka Kaminagai and other artists who engaged the group, participated increasingly in Brazilian arts, especially with the resumption of activities of Seibi Group, which was strengthened with the new Japanese and Brazilian artists. All this movement contributed to the development of the arts in Brazil, making clear the importance of Japanese artists in our history and artistic training.
At the same time, a new group was formed in São Paulo, also involving Japanese and Brazilian artists. Its name was Group of 15, also known as Alligator Group. They were in room No. 10, at the 224, August 11 Street, in the city center. A single exposure of this group of artists took place at the Institute of Architects of São Paulo. With the participation of some painters of Seibi Group as Takaoka and Handa, and other Japanese as Shigeto, Tamaki, Higaki, Masuda, Masato Aki, Takeshi Suzuki, Iwakichi Yamamoto, Masato Okinaka, Funaki, and even Brazilian Ladybug Cunha Bueno, Ataide Barros, Geraldo de Barros and Antoinette Barros. Later, Flávio-Shiró, student Kaminagai, Anthony Carelli, Alina Okinaka and Odette de Freitas also joined the Group of 15. Somehow, the trace and the graphics of the eastern ideograms elements became increasingly present in Brazilian arts.
While Flavio-Shiró attended the Group of 15, Tikashi Fukushima decided to return to Sao Paulo, where he married and continued its occupation, opening a frame shop in Largo da Guanabara in the neighborhood of Paradise, where now stands the Paradise metro station . Fukushima lived with his family at this factory structures, known and very popular with artists of the time. He performed particular frames, carved knife and came to match the color of wood with the frames. He was developing a unique work that captivated artists of the city.
Modern art continues in full swing. In the late 1940s, the city of São Paulo had received two great gifts. The São Paulo Art Museum (MASP) and the Modern Art Museum (MAM), which caused a turmoil among the best known artists, and also among new that sought to attend to events that occurred in the city. The Guanabara Group was not oblivious to these movements, but there were one freely mixing styles and genres that caused outrage in some critical and admiration in others. The artists tried to attend events and organize collectively. The first happened in 1950 at the Domus gallery and had nine founders and more: Hajime Higaki, Jacyra Pereira de Campos, Jorge Mori and Kenjiro Masuda, totaling thirteen painters. Up until 1959 there were over five exposures of the Group, and the latter showed twenty-nine artists. The Guanabara came to have thirty-four members throughout its existence.
The Seibi Group renovated and the Guanabara Group, in a way contributed to the high abstract tendency that would explode with great force from the I Biennial of São Paulo in 1951, Brazil’s largest art event. With great emphasis on abstraction, concretism, Neo concretism and op-art have become some of the trends of the time. And the Japanese artists were among the few participants who attended all the events of theBiennial of São Paulo.
The many students of Takaoka and Kaminagai in their most Japanese have evolved in their ways, figurative or otherwise. There was the time it took part in the Seibi Group and the Guanabara Group, and there was the time that followed their trends are abstract, are expressionists. Such as Flavio-Shiró, expressionist, which today carries an intense and exciting work. However, in the history of Japanese-Brazilian art stand out two Japanese names those deserve special comments, given its importance to the Brazilian context. Manabu Mabe and Tomie Ohtake, contemporary artists, participated in the second phase of Seibi Group and also the Guanabara Group. Mabe arrived in Brazil in 1934 and was a student of Takaoka, and Tomie arrived in Brazil in 1936 and was a student of Keisuke Sugano.
Naturally, the Japanese artists identified with the abstract. Abstract painting allowed them to surrender fully to the synthesis of colors and shapes, in a predominantly eastern side. Tomie Ohtake As, “few elements should say a lot” and explains that his inspiration comes from the notion of time Ukiy-lo, which means images of the world passing. It teaches us how to look their works that reveal this fleeting beauty, but permanent.
The Eastern tradition, the silence, the description, the discretion of abstract works of Manabu Mabe and Tomie Ohtake provide, to this day, the wonder of who is involved and is delighted with the simplicity of the forms. Mabe joined the abstraction in 1955 with abstract work Vibration-Momentary. In 1959, participated DAV International Biennial of São Paulo, with the works Composition Mobile, Piece of Light and White Space (all that year) and received the award for Best National Painter.
In 1961, a new character in the Japanese-Brazilian abstract art with the arrival of Kazuo Wakabayashi to Brazil, specifically to São Paulo. He sought Manabu Mabe and Tomie Ohtake with a letter of introduction from Japanese artist Waichi Tsudaka and joined the Seibi Group, presented by them. Initiated a series of stakes in major artistic events in the city, including 10 as of the jury member Hall Seibi Group of Artists, Hall where he won the Grand Gold Medal in the 1963 edition, besides being awarded in several editions the International Biennial of Sao Paulo. An abstract painter, his works are the result of research of different materials and textures, besides the use of mixed techniques, with the predominance of dark colors.
But it is in Ohtake, icon of Japanese-Brazilian art, the importance of this segment has become clear and evident. Tomie Ohtake stood out, in addition to her paintings, the various public works that are present in several Brazilian cities as the panel painted on the gable of the building Santa Monica, Slope of Memory, in São Paulo made in 1984; sculpture Star of the Sea, allocated at Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, in Rio de Janeiro in 1985; sculpture in honor of the eightieth year of Japanese immigration to Brazil, in 1988 in full Avenue May 23, and the panels in the Latin America Memorial and the Consolation subway station in São Paulo in 1991; the sculptures in an industrial park in the city of Araxá, Minas Gerais, and yet, at the Contemporary Art Museum of the University of São Paulo in 1999 and in the square Professor José Lannes, in São Paulo.
The importance of the work of these artists from the 1960s, and in the case of Tomie Ohtake today, was essential to understanding the evolution of looking for Brazilian art and the viewer’s maturing as the representation of various plastic parts.
All this way the arts, with an emphasis on Japanese-Brazilian cut it follows the fundamental contribution of these artists for culture and the arts in Brazil. A simple initiative in 1935, exactly seventy years ago, the brief, silent meetings almost daily to the default until the awards and the recognition of renowned Japanese artists who today are present in our art world, was a long and persistent way no less tortuous than sensitive, no less engaging than exciting. A meeting that softened the distance and promoted the integration, the search for intense and engaging representation of who is expressed by art.
Japanese-Brazilian art, meeting that worked … A meeting that enriched our culture and encouraged our greatest painters to produce an unrivaled work.

Be the multicultural rescue …

Be the man’s expression – immigrant.

Harmonious and beautiful.

Simply, Brazil.

Simply, Japan.