|Thesis | The World of Teruo Sato |Technique| 1- Intoroduction

The World of Teruo Sato
; Summarized Edition

Third part :

Written, summarized and translated by Taketoshi Murayama  
Original translation is rewritten by Chigusa Tanzawa

Original text is written in Japanese.
Complete edition will be translated into English in the future.
This text must not be translated into any other languages without author's permission.

1, Introduction

   The quality of picture depends upon technique. However technique is a method or an instrument that is prescribed by something other than the painter. Hence, it cannot be the factor that determines the quality of the artwork, but a necessary condition that adjusts the state of the outcome.
   Therefore, it is an illusion to think that an artwork can be made just by having technique: This kind of thought is an evil product of technicism. Technicism present in today's modern world, makes people blind about the changing values caused by scientific thinking; present in art, it neglects the insight into the world that creates an artwork.
   In art, this insight works through intuition, which is named "inspiration". Inspiration goes through the character and the ability of the individual as mediator, and plays a decisive role in the creation of art, being called "talent".
   "Talent" resides inside the individual, and while it is possible to refine it with experience, it can never be added from the outside. On the other hand, technique can be, to some extent, mechanically implanted from the outside.
   Therefore, in terms of its mechanisms of origin, creative talent and technical talent are two completely different concepts. The former ferments spontaneously within a personality, whereas the latter is formed by training. Even if two painters have a similar education, the acquisition of these two talents can differ enormously from each other.
   If we limit our observation to a superficial level, these two types of talent are seen as operating in the same dimension, and it becomes impossible to make a fundamental distinction between the two. Here arises evil technicism, which reduces the act of creation to a mere technique.
   Anyone can become an artisan with training. But it is impossible to instruct the creation of art to those who do not possess the core talent that is to be polished. This is why "artisan" has historically been sternly distinguished from "artist". Artists, unlike artisans, are endowed with the ability to set a new technical framework.
   In other words, artists possess a guiding principle for technique. With this principle, artists can either manipulate an existing technique, or in some cases, create a new one. An artisan, on the other hand, is no more than a switch, or a part of an existing technique.
  A more concrete explanation of this guiding principle would describe it as supported by one's world-view. It can be said that world-view is a solid and still creative way of seeing the world one lives in. Here we examine again the meaning of world defined in the outset of the work part.
   World is the container that accommodates the image. As previously described, it serves as the mother's body of a picture work. We can compare the concept of world-view with the idea of choosing the best dish to serve a food. In this example, a picture work is equivalent to the combination of dish and food: one cannot make the picture if he/she does not have the ability to select a dish. However, what an artisan does is only to paint the color of the dish or to adjust the temperature to cook the food.
   Image and world are integrated in a stage called "field" and an artwork is created. As mentioned in the work part, "field" is selected by the artist, based on his/her personality, backed by his/her individual history and by the cultural environment he/she was born.
   An artwork is created by arranging the image that the painter recognized and took into him/herself, in a world created by his/her world-view. Here image materializes into object, and world penetrates into setting.
   In the work part and person part, these two (object and setting) were simply cited separately, but in an actual picture work, the painter sometimes intends to obscure the distinction between the two. Also, since abstraction is a technique that is used to weaken the distinction, these two are made undistinguishable as the degree of abstraction raises.
   As for the object, distinction is also placed between main and subordinate object. As for the setting, the ones close and far from object are distinguished from each other. If the shape of the object is not clear, if it transforms or it is small, its existence itself can be incorporated into the setting. In such cases, object and setting overlap.
   Moreover, as mentioned in the person part, there exists a subjective composition element that differs according to the position of the painter as observer. If this changes, such things as the shape of the object and the mutual relationship between setting and object change as well. This change influences the meaning that object and setting carry. In this way, the distinction between object and setting becomes obscure and their relationship becomes extremely complicated, bearing the variety of the picture. The variety of the picture is made by this.
   However, the fact that object and setting exist and together constitute a picture does not change. These two are always the elements of a picture and composition is a plan that decides how to arrange them. That is to say, object and setting are the components of picture and composition.
   The arrangement of object and setting is done by a schematic ability of recognition, which relates largely to the painter's world-view. In other words, we can say that an innate and unique spatial recognition makes part of the creative ability of the painter as artist, creating his/her world-view and composition.
   Certainly, world-view and composition differ in their nature. World-view is a capacity that the painter has as a person, and people other than artist are not prevented from having it, too. World-view is held by artists other than painters as well: musicians and poets insert sounds and words in the world and doing so they create their artwork. World is the universal mother's body of art.
   In contrast, determining a composition is a special professional ability of the painter. This is triggered or formed by operations that can be performed only painters, such as processing an image and building settings.
   However, since world-view and composition are essentially similar to each other, when the painter works on the world-view, an automatic professional reaction occurs and he/she advances towards determining the composition. This means that, the world-view serves as the basis of the guiding principle of technique and, at the same time, influences the decision of composition through a painter's concrete work.
   Further, world-view can be divided into human-view and nature-view; human-view in turn, if spreading over various individuals constitutes a society-view. Also, as a concept opposing to it, civilization-view can be introduced into the category of nature-view. Human-view and nature-view become the guiding principle of the painting technique and are related to the composition building. As shown in the work part, human-view becomes the basis of portraits and nature-view becomes that of landscape pictures. World-view, which incorporates all of these views, becomes the guiding principle for integrated pictures.
   World-view forms the basis of the world, which in turn, forms the mother's body of an artwork, but

Woman in the Nude Image

strictly speaking, is not the world itself. Even if one does not have any world-view, it is still possible for him/her to create a world as a basis of a picture. The world-view is nothing more than a catalyst for the creation of a world by the painter. It enables the painter to create his/her own world continuously and moreover developmentally. Without this, a painter would create an artwork accidentally. It is possible to possess a world without having a world-view, but never can one possess a world-view without having a world of his/her own.
   From what discussed above, it can be concluded that, when arguing comprehensively about painter's technique, the closest concept to its guiding principle is composition. Therefore, in this technique part, theory of composition will be discussed first. Then, we proceed to a discussion on color and line as the instrumental essence of the technique that is decided by the content of the composition. Finally, we discuss the choice and arrangement of medium (this refers to the picture methods such as oil pigment, pastel, Conté.) which is an instrument in itself, from the point of view of "matière" building. In addition, we describe how the world-view comes into play in all of these elements according to specific contexts.
   As mentioned above, artisans who cannot build a world of their own cannot have their world-view, and hence, they cannot build a world that accommodates their image. This means that they never participate in composition building. Therefore, for them, technique limits to color and line, and to choice of medium. Medium relates indirectly to the composition through color and line. Hence, for artisans who do not have a world-view, using the medium becomes the main issue of concern.
   Thus, artisans are possessed by the idea that it is possible to draw a picture only by deciding how to use the material of pigment, the density of the canvas' surface, or the degree of oil dissolution. The main concern of artisan is the medium, and hence he/she concentrates great energy on issues such as deciding which is better to making vivid blue, a transparent oil pigment or an acrylic pigment. An artisan tends to hold the illusion that once this kind of problem is solved, he/she can immediately draw a picture. For them, composition is no more than an additional factor.
   In other words, while artisans and artists are both engaged in creation activity, there exists a deep and big crevasse that separates these two. Sato says "Anyone can enter the field of picture. But for a painter, the most difficult task is to decide what to draw." These words express concisely the relationship between artists and artisans.

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