At Dawn after Storm ; 1981
This piece does not belong to any category of his works since this work
includes most of the elements from all the categories. This painting
shows not only the land but also the ocean. Also, this is a landscape and
a portrait at the same time, therefore, the development of the theme of
"The Token on Wilderness inside of Myself", is seen in this work as well. The only element missing would be a self-portrait
Sato's self-portrait is painted symbolically in the perpendicular direction on the wide ground. This is the style of
Sato's self-portraits that is created by his sense of beauty. It was only
heroic Sato with an enormous energy of life who was able to move with bold
strides and continued to stand alone on this death-haunted Earth floating
in the deadly silent universe. And the other people, such as the women
in the nude and workmen, were let alive only in Sato's neighborhood or
at his atelier. And he managed and protected them.
Sato was the thoroughgoing observer when he was at his atelier or in his
town, and when he stood in front of the wilderness he received strong self-consciousness
of Existence. Of course ordinary men could not approach in this holy place. People
who were allowed to go to Sato's sides were only a group of the dead. "The Token on Wilderness inside of Myself" symbolically shows this. When people leave Sato's energy territory, the
shadow of death slowly stalks them while they take a sleeping pose.
As for this work, the setting is the sea and this is primarily a place
where only the water is painted. To put a beach there is very exceptional.
On the beach, only the moribund mermaid was depicted, which is almost like
a condensation of the pile of the dead in "The Token on Wilderness inside of Myself". If that was substantively a corpse, the characteristic of the sea which
stands as the place of absolute death is not spoiled. Then, having a body
warped like the bow, the mermaid carries the horizontality that the sea
holds. The deviation of the painting style usually happens only once in
On Windy Day ; 1967
Drought in Summer ; 1967
The Token on Wilderness inside of Myself ; 1970
View ; 1980
Also, the moribund mermaid is in fact close to life since she was drawn
as an individual. Since the individual object was normally drawn only in
Sato's neighborhood, he painted a private object uncommonly seen in the
open space. Such a trial had not been done since "On Windy Day" and "Drought in Summer". (According to Sato, this mermaid was to suppose to be a mannequin. However,
since a suitable object was not available, he changed it to a mermaid from his
imagination. Here, maybe an intersection of the realism and the symbolism can be seen.)
Furthermore, the shadow of an island or a cape is seen in the sea in the
right end corner. And they are spoiling the composition of the
pure ocean. However, now that the beach was painted, it is permitted to
be there as an accent that clearly shows the duality of the land and the
sea in this painting. (Sato said that having the cape was the expression
of the sense of the self. However, since this scenery was not the product
of his imagination but in fact existed in Aomori Prefecture, it was
only a subjective interpretation. )
As a painting of the sea, the horizon must not be spoiled. In fact, a perpendicular
object was not drawn any more on the beach. However, a realistic perpendicular
object was inserted exceptionally in this work which can not be seen in
any other works of Sato. This is the sunlight above the sea.
Then, since this sunlight is leading all the way to an exceptionally high sky, it is forcing to reaches "holiness" that Sato was avoiding. This sunlight can be read as an advanced figure of the unseen Buddhist image which is placed in the back of the stick in "The Token on Wilderness inside of Myself".
Extremely rare case is seen here where Sato shook his painting style
not once but even twice. The possible reason could be that there was a
strong desire to put all of his painting themes in this work. This resembles
a shadow in "View ". However, in "View", the impulse came from outside however in this work it was sprung out
from the depth of Sato's character. The relationship of inside and outside
which Sato often mentioned neatly makes one set when breaking a painting
Incidentally, the sand in the beach is the reinforcing material of absolute
death. On the other hand, since the ocean, too, is the place where absolute
death exists, having these two at the same time deepens the painting theme.
However, there is no other work in which the beach was drawn like Gustave Courbet (1819-1877 French painter) in Sato's paintings. Sato's painting form that drew a rigid distinction between the sea and
the land acted more strongly than the consubstantiality that the objects
had. Satowas the artist who had a stronger sense in painting, not in literature,
and he could be called the painter who held the sense of absoluteness of
The sea by the beach was not included in Sato's painting style. Sato said
the wave by the beach seemed to lack power and they did not amuse
him. Also, when observing waves from the beach, they surge in parallel.
In other words, the wind whose existence is implied by the waves is blowing
toward the audience.
However, since the most effective direction of the wind comes from the horizontal direction that crosses an audience, the power will be fully lost. The reason Sato never painted the sea by the beach was not only because of his picture philosophy that separated the sea and the land.
In conclusion, the four works that were described above are all the examples
of Sato's works where his painting styles were strongly shaken. Then, it
seems to be the artist's instinct that brought this waver. In the previous chapter we called it
the temptation of goddess of art. When facing this instinct, the struggling
between the realism and the symbolism inside Sato reaches the highest point.
Frozen Port ; 1979
The Formation of the Wilderness ; 1980
In "Frozen Port" and "View", it was the nature land's power. In "The Formation of the Wilderness" it was the scientific view of the universe and the desire for the internal integration in "At Dawn after Storm". These stimulated the instincts of Sato and agitated Sato's painting style
by transforming a part of it. However, Sato kept his painting style after
the four works therefore all of these works ended after appearing just
once after all, and the painting theme was never deepened later on. Therefore
they stayed as four exceptions of Sato's works.
Sato remained chaste to the form of the original self if we must say. Being
strongly pulled by the leman who had caused an internal impulse inside
him, he passed her by as a "flower by the roadside" at the end.
In this way, Sato returned to the house which was assembled by his painting
style and gave his serious devotion to the wife which was called a painting
of the sea surface and the daughters who were called women in the
In this way, by avoiding the fierce fight of the realism and the symbolism,
Sato might have retrieved calmness inside him, however, many of the greatest
masterpieces might have been aborted as a result. These works might be
the illegitimate children of Sato's paintings, however, since they are
the children between the rare genius painter and the goddesses of art,
each of them would leave a name in the history and bring wealth and fame
to Sato. And it is possible to say that they have fully given thoughtful
kindness for their father.
However, Sato followed the fakir who came out of the monastery which was also known as a place for
the pure realism.
― Written, summarized and translated by Taketoshi Murayama ―
― Original translation is rewritten by Tomoko Daijo McLean ―
This text must not be translated into any other language without author's
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