WABI – SABI & ART

 

侘寂と美術

“When I go out
of this fishing village
at sunset on an autumn day,
I don’t see open flowers
nor coloured Maples unfolding their leaves.”

This poetically defines the “tea master” Fujiwara Sadaiye (1162-1241). The artistic element that is part of the reality of SABI. According to the Zen master, D. T. Suzuki, it means “solitude” or “isolation”. The essence of WABI also defines us as “Being poor”, that is, not being dependent on earthly things, wealth, power, or reputation, and yet inwardly feeling the presence of something extremely valuable above time and social position ” .

Inspiration is found in nature bu the artist, and so is fully satisfied by this mystical contemplation.

It is important to mention here the “angle painting” and economy strokes style that is by no means conventional. When we hope to find a line or element that does not appear, this produces pleasure, and, moreover, this has been one of the favourite resources of Japanese artists, “materializing beauty in forms of imperfection or even ugliness.”

When this beauty of imperfection is subject to antiquity and something which is rustic in its origins, it is then that SABI emerges. A crude simplicity and imperfection of the object and a richness of its history make it an artistic production.

“To those who only yearn for cherry blossoms, How I like to show you Spring
that shines from some green grass bushes
in the snow covered mountain village!”

These verses from Fujiwara Iyetaba (1158-1237), “tea master”, show us a perfect example of SABI. That little piece of green that the poet talks about, is itself life and is the here and now. The Japanese artist observes nature in every moment, and this could be called the mystical sense of the artist.

Something that characterizes Japanese art is its asymmetric shapes and its contrary to the conventional criteria, derived from the Zen philosophy of WABI – SABI life.

Contemplate individual things, perfect in themselves, and at the same time, as a materialization of the totality that belongs to the One (D.T.Suzuki, 1996).