The exuberance and expressiveness of myriad shades of blue is brought to dazzling life in the works of Nuit Sano. ‘Nuit Sano: Abstract in Blue’ is the Japanese painter’s first solo exhibition in Singapore held at Nikei Fine Art.
Blue is integral in Sano’s oeuvre. In her paintings, it represents the colour of the sky that she gazed upon while waiting for snow to melt down from the slopes of Mount Iwaki located in her hometown. Inspiration comes from memories and past emotions and these manifest themselves in abstract maps of blue. Mysterious and alluring, Sano’s palette of colour has come to be known as “Sano blue” in the Japanese art world.
In an email interview, Sano discusses her life in art.
Geraldine Lee (GL): When did you become interested in art?
Nuit Sano (NS): Before painting, I was interested in colours. I was brought up in a confectionery shop, and every day you could see a lot of colour. I started with liking colours. My birthday is on November 16, which in Japanese also sounds like ‘nice colour’. My brother inherited the family business. I am the oldest daughter.
In elementary school the whole class had a painting session. Our paintings were put up in the classroom and everyone voted for the best painting. I won the competition, even though I felt the painting next to the winning one was better. It turned out that I had also painted this second painting. I decided that I should paint differently from others. Something had to be done to create a characteristic identity to my work. I painted items scattered on the floor and made use of the items in my art to make it different from others who were painting flowers and scenery. You should not paint as others do, but should strike out on your own to be recognised.
My parents wanted their daughter to have the best education and engaged a good teacher for me. I improved under guidance and became the best artist in my class.
GL: Tell us about your experience in Paris.
NS: My first year in junior high was the year that Japan lost in the world war. Everything was grey, and colour only returned slowly. As it returned, it excited me and my love for colour. European and American movies also came to my village in Northern Japan after the war. It was very exciting. After watching the movies I dreamed about going to Paris, to sit in the streets and watch the world go by. I asked my parents how I could realise this dream, and they advised me that art would be the quickest way to get there.
It was a struggle to go to Paris and to live there. When I entered university in Japan I became a lecturer in the hope that I would make it to Paris one day during my vacations.
I did not go to Paris for my education. I just wanted to go there and walk in the streets and admire the art. At that time I was not thinking about abstract art. When in Paris, I had no intention of going abstract. It was all about traditional art. When impressionist abstract art became popular in the US I became interested, and did both abstract and figurative paintings. I came to realise that my style is abstract.
GL: What sort of techniques do you apply in your works?
NS: I use many types of media. The key is that I use whatever I like. Much of the art is in oils and acrylics.
GL: How do you maintain the ‘freshness’ in your works when you are essentially focusing on one colour?
NS: I use blue as my inspiration. In North Japan the colours of the art are very dark. I wanted to break away from that practice although I come from North Japan. I like to paint strong art that arouses viewers. I like to excite them. Blue is a very strong colour, in my opinion. It represents the region I came from, whereas other colours symbolise warmer regions.
GL: What do you think of anti-conceptual art?
NS: I am in complete agreement with Mr Kato (Hiroshi Kato, Director of Nikei Fine Art) on anti-conceptual art. I express myself on the canvas, and not ‘behind’ it. If the viewer looks at it and likes it, that is very important.
GL: How is your philosophy in life linked to your style of painting?
NS: What is important for me is that I accumulate experience and over a long period, that becomes culture. I believe that once you reach that stage, you can show your works in any country, as they are universal works.
GL: What are your future plans?
NS: To paint, only that. Tomorrow I want to paint better art than today. That’s what I want to do. I would like to paint all that is displayed here (at Nikei Fine Art Gallery Raffles Hotel) in one year, but that’s not possible with my age. What troubles me is how and when I am going to complete works-in-progress, there is still something missing for these. What has been displayed here are the ones which are already complete and the ones I like best. I have 10 works in my studio. Two are going to be finished. It is possible they will be completed next week, but it could take some time before I feel they are completed.
‘Nuit Sano: Abstract in Blue’ (A Solo Exhibition) runs till 20 June 2013 at Nikei Fine Art.
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