"Ken Sato"

The exhibition-catalogue at Japanska Galleriet, Stockholm, november 1987

For many years Ken Sato has lived in Sweden.
I have met him recently on several occasions both as an artist
and a private person with our common interest in view on art.
   Ken Sato was born and brought up in Japan and thus formed
in totally different tradition than I. The Far East - Europe, Northern Europe.

   He art of calligraphy is for him a natural way of expression.
The calligraphy which we Westerners have been fascinated and inspired by, have
studied, but yet never have been able to achieve same relation to as Ken, due to
our different cultural conditions and traditions.
   For a long time it has been an interest for calligraphy in the west.
During the 40's and the 50's I well remember artist who worked with calligraphy
as an expressive form. George Mathieu, who dressed in a white pair of overalls,
on big canvases and with long brushes or with colourtubes direct on and against
canvas, interpreted the dynamic of the battle-field solely with lines in different colours.
   There were others - Soulages for example and in the USA Frans Kline, Mark Tobey.
Mark Tobey with his white signs had been taught calligraphy, when he visited Japan
in the beginning of the century.
   The interest in calligraphy was a part of the informal painting,
now in recent years it has flared up again.

   When I see Ken Satos very beautiful, very skilfully painted calligraphic
works I am astonished. But it is his more seldom shown paintings on canvas which have made the
strongest impression on me.
   Even though they are international as paintings often are today, one feels the
Japanese refinement, the high-cultivated.
   What do they represent?
   They don't represent anything in a common sense. Ken Sato himself mentions the Japanese
stone gardens and I believe that in his paintings fantasy can grow within the same kind of
frame. Mountain surface, stone surface with crackformations or softly formed stones
sometimes as head, sometimes one get a glimpse of an eye, a mark or a spot.
   Every detail in the picture is carefully pondered.

   As always it is difficult to write about paintings, these paintings are to be looked at
and they will speak for themselves to the spectators and I myself prefer to be one of them.


Rune Jansson