questions from Mr. Frank Born
Born: You have said
that you contemplate a long time before making each new mark in
your paintings, yet these marks look spontaneous. What do you gain
by this slowed decision time and do you deliberately design your
marks to appear spontaneous and if so, why?
Masaru Kurose: I think about
what painting is when I paint. Painting is an interesting medium
of expression. I have a primitive wonder about why we humans paint
to express. By pursuing this thought, I end up thinking about ourselves
in the background. When I paint with this kind of broad question
in my mind, my personal feeling and opinion on our society do not
really surface. What is the ideal and happy existence for painting
--- that is what in my mind when I paint. I always think about the
intimate relationship between the painting and myself. I do not
think that I, the painter, have all the control. It is almost like
I am facing another person. Sometimes my painting agrees with me
and other times it does not. I try to think what is the best and
happiest state for the painting as if I were thinking of the person
I love most. This is what I mean by there being deep thoughts in
front of my work. When my painting is the happiest, it is when my
work is done. It is quite a simple format. I believe that it is
not right to push my ego into the work if I consider the happiness
of the painting itself. I value the smoothness and spontaneity of
the painting as something which comes from the work itself.
is the relationship between intuition and contemplation in the construction
of your work?
MK: When I contemplate, I
often struggle in searching something I want. It is a time of endurance
and perseverance. While I do so, very rarely but sometimes, I see
everything all at once coming together and making sense to me. When
I have the perspective where I can see everything at once, I feel
that I have intuition. In my case, it seems I only arrive at this
place after long hours of contemplation.
are no lines or angles in your compositions, only curves. Why?
MK: I value smoothness in
my work. My work begins with brushstrokes and it is only natural
for me to have a curved line with my brush. It feels smooth and
physically natural for me.
Another reason that I tend to use curved lines is because I wish
to lead the viewers eye along the curve. If I want to lead their
thoughts beyond the realm of my canvas, I do so by drawing a line
going off my canvas. Straight lines are too forcing and decisive
for what I want to achieve. I cherish a more natural and organic
flow in my work.
have written that your new paintings, with the paint marks riding
on a clear ground, are specific metaphors for how our minds work.
How did you first decide to paint on clear grounds?
MK: I started working on
clear canvases in order to create gfloating imagesh and gthree dimensional
space in two dimensions by illusionh. When I first thought of a
clear ground, I felt I was taking a big risky because I was not
sure if it could be considered painting. Since the ultimate theme
of my painting is to think about what painting is, the painting
looses the point if it looks like an object. Though, I countered
my fear by thinking that showing the structure of the support may
have an effect on how the viewer thinks about paintings. I made
some prototypes and made sure it works. Only after that assurance
I started working on this series of paintings.
have known your paintings for twenty-five years. You have always
been an abstract painter in a very pure way, making no or barely
any allusions to nature. What do you think is the relationship between
your paintings and the natural world? By taking out any reference
to the natural world, you give the viewer a set of relationships
to observe that are free of associations. Do you share this interpretation?
MK: Paintings are artificial
things. Therefore, I find it dangerous to feel settled by recreating
the natural world on in a painting. Abstract thinking may be our
own special ability. I would like to base my work on that possibility.
It is important for me to be totally independent from the thinking
pattern of the natural world. I do not wish to borrow from or base
my work on the natural world. At the same time, my objective is
very simple. It is to think about what exactly paintings are. I
do not paint to serve something else like some religious painters
did in medieval time. I need my paintings to exist as a separate
entity from me in order to contemplate them.