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REIJIRO KUDO       工藤 礼二郎

What light brings

Curator, The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

“Color is an act of light”, When Goethe wrote it in “Theory of colors”, he insisted that the awareness of color was greatly affected by the movement of eyes of the viewer.

Against Newton who analyzed hue as a refractive index and defined it numerically, in Goethe’s theory, color is recognized in the inner sense of viewer and generated every time.

Goethe wrote “Light exists, therefore eyes exist”, and added the words of an old philosopher in ancient times to it, “If the eyes were not sun-like, how could we see light? If it were not for God’s power inside of us, how could we delight in things divine?” Goethe pointed out that light exists inside of us, therefore outside light could appear. His study attempting to raise a question about the modern rationalism proceeded into the visible world based on light, however it referred to invisible domains as a result, such as spirituality or imagination associated with them.

From the title of this exhibition “Perspective”, I recalled that “light” is something unembodied, in other words, something invisible but visible.


KUDO Reijiro finishes a canvas after enormous process, painting so many layers with all kinds of colors and materials. While keeping the complex luster generated by the volume of colors, the whole canvas converges in one tone, black or white. Mondorian was disturbed by the illusion in his later years, which occurs as long as he paints a plane with brushes. KUDO polishes the surface to level the matiere and doesn’t make material aspects nor illusion occurred. In other words, he aims at the moment when the canvas is turned to be a light itself. His paintings are similar to the motief of “windows” often seen in symbolism paintings, every moments are compressed in one canvas. Despite the monotones, we could see centripetal motion, that is light seems to concentrate in the center of the canvas. When we stand in front of the human-scale-size canvas, we feel as if we are looking into a mirror surrounded by light, which recalls a spirituality in northern Renaissance paintings.

I might say after Goethe, there is a moment when we encounter the inner light.


Light could be a medium, ties visible and invisible things together. And the theme of light asks us, why we could find an invisible field, that is spiritual world there, despite that light is only a material. It contains a question asking the essence of visual arts.

This exhibition provided an important opportunity in terms of impressing me with it.

I hope four artists would brush up their one and only technique and show more brilliant light.

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