Title: "58-44" in Major : abstract calligraphy
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Image: 43 3/4 x 57 inches (111.1 x 144.8 cm)
Museum Associates Purchase Fund and Museum Acquisition Fund
Avant-garde calligraphy (zenei shodo) in Japan after World War II encompassed experimentation with gesture and even with writing as pure form disassociated from its meaning. Hidai Nankoku--the son of Hidai Tenrai (1872-1939), who was considered Japan's father of modern calligraphy-- became a leading proponent of improvising with ink to abstractly express feelings and the unconscious. This work, whose title and brushed graphics evoke musical notation, embodies the artist's approach as he described it in 1959:
Calligraphy is something that comes out through improvisation. I believe that it is improvisational work. It comes out by itself when I am not conscious of it. Even if you were to try to consciously draw/write a line, the line you write will not be the same as the one you intended. It is the same with a musical performer who is unable to perform while thinking.
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.