20 May 2021

Mt. Fuji by Tokuoka Shinsen on a bed of fog

Mt Fuji, by Tokuoka Shinsen, 1963

Here is a remarkable image which I saw in Japan a few years ago. I bought a postcard of it and ever since it's been on a wall in my kitchen.

What I appreciate about it is the unadulterated simplicity by which it was conceived, an idea that has been presented to us with a minimalism of both style and form. It is a portrait of Mount Fuji, solid and sober, but like in a dream, it sits on a bed of fog. Fujiyama, as it is affectionately known in Japan, also sits back into the painting by some uncanny display of discreet virtuosity. Only in Japan, can this be done, I marvel to myself. The foreground is the natural colour of the paper, and by leaving it at the base of the painting the artist solves the complex problem of distance in this picture with the ease of a gentle mist.

I really love this image as much today as when I first saw it in Japan. It has shaped something inside my unconscious but I haven't yet understood it completely. 

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