In the self-portrait of Sato, there is a remarkable characteristic in where
the setting is drawn. Sato's other self in the painting emerges heroically
alone for the greater earth. On the other hand, a figure of Sato himself
does not appear in anywhere, such as his atelier which at his home or homely
places. Since living creatures are never placed in the sea in any of Sato's
paintings, Sato himself does not appear in the sea either since he is a
member of the human beings as well.
View ; 1980
When it comes to the paintings where the earth is drawn, it is possible
to see that the more the earth is opened, the more embodiment of character
of Sato's other self strengthens. The extreme of this is "View" where the shadow of Sato himself is pictured. Among the works of Sato's
self-portraits, the order of degree in which a giving of shape
to himself is seen as follows: race horses → trees → Don Quixote.
Also the space is widening proportionally from the racecourse to the fields,
the mountains, and more to the uninhabited wilderness. The strict painting
style of Sato is marvelously accomplished here as well.
It is easily seen that the racecourses and the trees in his paintings are
always under the bright sunlight that shine upon them. For Sato's portrait
of others, we can see that the person is always shut inside Sato's atelier
or the midst of town. Any person except for Sato is never placed in a space
which has an expanse with some degree.
In the world of Sato's paintings the official existence is Sato only, and also the fact that
the only person who is allowed to go into the sunny places is only
Sato is clear from the composition of the paintings. He often made negative
remarks such as "things like women and children do …", that led to the fact that he placed human beings except for him
under the protection of Sato like private possessions.
Brocken ; 1986
Going to a Battle under the Rainbow ; 1983
It was only Sato, too, who could step up to the dangerous death-haunted
desert earth as seen in the paintings of Don Quixote. Here, in this
case Sato was seen as an old samurai hero. In these paintings Sato is brightened
by the sunlight, and when leaving he is given a send-off by a vivid rainbow
as seen in "Brocken" and "Going to Battle under the Rainbow".
The reason that the painting of the racehorse is the self-portrait of Sato
is that in Sato's painting world the only powerful man like a horse
is Sato. Also the same fact is seen in the painting of Don Quixote who
is the incarnation of Sato, and he is indeed riding a horse.
All the horses which appear on the paintings are under the brilliant
sunlight and any irrelevant existence to Sato never appears on such an
important stage. The horse is a symbol of energy and it is not a character.Therefore, the horse has to be with
a rider in order to become an actual self-projection of Sato.
The reality is that he never paid attention to the horse races as a business. He himself was, in fact,
expressing a hatred for the actual situation of the horserace business
that sells dropped-out racehorses for meat. He also showed his contempt
for the gamblers who buy betting tickets.
Therefore we only can take the paintings of the racehorses as a kind of
his self-portrait. However, since a racehorse is usually not drawn alone,
it cannot be a full self-projection of Sato.
For the plural self-projection, it never goes out of the racecourses. For
example Sato's self-projection is never seen in any paintings such as
paintings of several hunters in the field or at a mountain. That is because
only Sato can go out to the open world except for the dead.
Young Steeds Gallop 2 ; 1990
There are some unique characteristics about the painting of horses. First
of all, every horse is drawn in the way it always overlap the other horse.
Then, for one of the horses drawn on one canvas, a part of the horse's
body is cut off at the edge of the painting and does not fit fully in the
frame. In one of "Young Steeds Gallop" (There are two works with the same name) the horse which only has a neck
is intentionally added to the left side of the painting.
In other words, he never puts a whole horse fully into the picture. When
concentrating on an object, Sato cut off a part of the object out of the
frame and implied the world where the object was placed and introduced
an effect of a zoom lens as seen in the movies.
Suppose that the racehorses are the dynamic existence which holds a Sturdy
energy, trees are, on the other hand, the static existence.
Sato appears in his own paintings as a great existence that is both powerful
as a horse and stable as a tree.
Sato himself did not affirm this but the possibility that "Giant in the Forest" is a self-projection of him is high. The bird which is considered as a
messenger of death in Sato's work is drawn in "Snow Storm and Time". This bird is a crow as described earlier. (As for the birds in Sato's
sense, adjutant storks bring the worlds of death and life together but
crows separate them. Also birds in the sea reinforce a wind. ) In Sato's
paintings, an aggregation of objects suggests death and it seems like the
shadow of death is creeping up in "Snow Storm and Time".
"Even one tree can express from death to life" Sato said. He
might be seeing, in a tree, the collection of the history
in general and the history of living creatures including himself. Trees are
put under a brilliant sunlight in the paintings. The objects that receive
the shower of sunlight in this open world are the ones that Sato put his
(However, as mentioned in the previous chapter, Sato was aware of
the aggregation of human beings rather than the self-projection of himself
in "Sattva 〜 Populus 〜" and "Samsara 〜 Woods of Walpurgis 〜". The death-inviting cloud is drawn in the sky as if it is reflecting it.)
Giant in the Forest ; 1995
Snow Storm and Time ; 1994
Sattva〜Populus〜 ; 2002
Samsara〜Woods of Walpurgis〜 ; 2002
It was between the middle of 1970s and around 1980 that the painting of
Don Quixote's, which is the earliest self-projected piece, was drawn. In
this work, Sato projected a figure of himself as the one who opposes the
painting circles in Japan.
Don Quixote sought values of lost times, and was frustrated
and suffered a setback because of the anachronism. According to Sato, the
techniques of realism were considered out of date.
Charge ; 1983
Sancho ; 1981
When observing the painting, it is clear that there is a
unique characteristic in the direction that Don Quixote takes. It comes
from the distant view to the foreground. Also, "Charge" has an uncommon right to left direction for Sato's paintings. This can be showing the figment of his battle and the anachronism in his life in composition. According to Sato the laughing face of Sancho in "Charge" shows a sense of figment of the fighting.
― Written, summarized and translated by Taketoshi Murayama―
translation is rewritten by Tomoko Daijo McLean―
This text must not be translated into any other languages without author's
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