The Japanese term “sumi” means “black ink” and “e” means “painting”. It indicates one of the art forms in which subjects are painted with black ink in all possible gradations ranging pure black to the lightest shades achievable by dissolving ink in water. However, this does not mean that everything painted in this way deserves to be called “sumi-e”. Real “sumi-e” must correspond to typical features, such as simplicity and spontaneousness that directly strike the viewers’ sensibility. In order for a painting to be “alive”, all of its parts must be alive. This type of painting already includes the “sketch”; there is no need for preparation as in traditional painting; any superfluous form or detail is left out. Sumi-e grasps the essence of nature. Sumi-e was introduced into Japan by Zen monks and it then became rapidly successful because in this “technique”, as in Zen practice, reality is expressed by reducing it to its pure bare form. Touch-ups, additions and decorations do not enhance a work, but rather hide its true nature. Just as in cooking, if you add too many spices, you won’t get the real flavor of what you've made.

« Sumi-e: art forms in which subjects are painted with black ink »

A quote saved on May 14, 2015.


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