Setsuko Kurioka

When you stand by a riverside or by the seashore, you sense the activity of the water. When your spirits are low, you may feel the alluring pull of the depths, at other times, when you are content and relaxed, you may become aware of the creative impulse of water in movement. Perhaps a desire awakes in you to recreate your experience on the surface of a sheet of paper or a canvas. To me watching the surface of moving water triggered the process that resulted in this series of drawings. The continual appearance and disappearance of images on water became the theme of this exhibition which I have called The Birth of Islands.

While working with these drawings I have felt very relaxed. In a lucid moment I had the idea of making my pencil drawings on canvases wet with oil painting.This allows me to remove my traces quickly and easily, broad strong lines as well as thin ones, by a sweep of a cloth.

In addition to the clealy visible influencefrom Cy Twonbly, my works are also inspired by a young girl at the age of four. For several reasons she found it very hard to communicate by words. But once she had pencil and paper she started to sing her songs without lyrics and to draw as if she were dancing. She looked so happy. Because of my own experiences with language difficulties I could well understand her joy. Made by restricted means, the girl’s line drawings are beautiful, joyous and innocent.

In this series of drawings I too have chosen to express my feelings in a simple vocabulary. But as a professional artist it is not easy to rid oneself of all superfluous ideas, meanings and intentions. It is tempting to invent systems in the working process and to stick to these. That is one of the traps I fear as an artist. I wish to be free from such self-imposed limitations. So as soon as I detected tendencies to work according to some self-constructed system, my cloth and white oilpaint swept the surface clean once more.

How can I as an artist learn from the little girl, learn how to draw, how to be as innocent as she is? These questions have been guiding lines in my endevours. Here are my words and my works. In the end I trust my pencil lines traced in white oil paint, soiled from the working process, will speak more eloquently than my words about my joy to exist. Setsuko Kurioka

The age of the Gods

”Before heaven and earth were produced, there was something
which might be compared to a cloud floating over the sea, it had
no place of attachment for its root. In the midst of this a thing
was generated which resembleda reed-shoot when it is first
produced in the mud. This became straightway transformed
into human shape.” Nihon-shoki

The birth of islands

“Two gods stood upon the floating bridge of Heaven, and, plunging
down the jewel-spear of Heaven, sought for land. With the spear
they stirred the ocean, and bringing it up again, the brine which
dripped from the spear-point coagulated and became an island.“

Setsuko stilte ut fra 23. juni til 15. juli 2007.