Shizuoka born Miyamura has created works which draw on the traditional Bokusho-style of calligraphy, and create a new kind of abstract expressionism. In this exhibition, “Image Langue: Linear Code”, Miyamura has built on his original dot codes, which represented the 48 hiragana characters:
…and produced linear codes which represent the Western alphabet:
Miyamura doesn’t use a traditional calligraphy brush. Instead, he uses a technique called decalcomania where sumi (ink) is transferred to the board using different mediums and friction.
I have to be honest and say that, while I like the concept of what Miyamura is doing, I didn’t really “get” the exhibition. I’m not going to try to explain it too much – I couldn’t – but I will refer you to this excellent interview with Gen Miyamura over at Diverse Japan. You’ll be able to learn a lot more about Miyamura’s work and ideas, and see some excellent photographs of his work.
I will share one personal thought about this exhibition, though. While I’m happy to admit that I didn’t really understand the artworks themselves, I think I did “get” the concept. When I was a kid, I remember creating a secret code with my best friends that only we could read. We could write it really fast, and would exchange notes with each other. Now, as an adult studying Japanese, I have that same feeling of discovering a secret code that a limited number of people can understand (albeit a much larger number of people than those who could read my childhood code). Miyamura may not intend his Dot Code or Linear Code to be used for every day communication, but the same concept of playing with language is there as I experienced when I was a child. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so focussed on A being A or あ being あ, but consider the possible alternatives…
For more information about the exhibition, or the ICN gallery in general, please visit the ICN website. Gen Miyamura’s exhibition runs until February 22nd, and his website can be found here (English/Japanese).