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Culture news
The State Hermitage Museum: Colors of Japan in the Art of Serizawa Keisuke
11.17.2006 14:19

 Two-fold screen Flowers On 10 November 2006, an exhibition opened in the halls of the General Staff building which was organized by the State Hermitage together with the Mayor's Office of the City of Shizuoka, with the participation of the Education Committee of City of Shizuoka, the Municipal Serizawa Keisuke Art Museum of Shizuoka, the Shizuoka Simbun newspaper, and Shizuoka TV, with support from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Japan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the General Consulate of Japan in St Petersburg. The exhibition presents 80 of the most outstanding works of the Japanese artist Serizawa Keisuke.

Keisuke was born in 1895 in the city of Shizuoka, at the foot of Mt Fujiyama. His career as an artist was greatly influenced by his familiarity with the traditional way of dyeing fabrics on the island of Okinawa - Bingata. Serizawa decided to become an artist in textiles. As a result of profound study of the Bingata technique, and based on another traditional Japanese technique - Katazome (design elements cut from paper and glued onto fabric, after which the pieces of paper and fabric are painted), Serizawa Keisuke invented his unique style of painting, which combines creation of a design, preparation of stencils and painting on textile. Moreover, in his work the master used Japanese paper with a special structure. Aside from stenciled designs, the artist decorated many different objects of applied art: tapestries, books, kimonos, obi belts, byobu folding screens, noren (traditional Japanese curtain on the door of a room), fans, calendars, among other things. Serizawa Keisuke's designs are amazingly refined and there are a great variety of subjects. Hieroglyphs, symbols, badges, letters, figures, the vegetal world, and landscapes are all done in calm, soothing tones and put together in well thought-out compositions.

In 1956 Serizawa Keisuke was awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of the Country in recognition of the originality of his work. He also received the title of a Person Who is a National Treasure.

In 1976, at the invitation of the French Government, Serizawa had a one-man show in the Grand Palais exhibition hall of Paris which met with huge success. During that year he was given the title of Meritorious Cultural Leader.

Serizawa collected masks, toys, furniture, ceramics and textile. His collection had more than 6,000 exhibit items coming from all over the world. Later most of the works in his collection were given over to the Serizawa Keisuke Museum.

News source: www.hermitagemuseum.org
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