Kitasono Katsue

Kitasono Katsue
4 records
Kitasono Katsue began his career as a poet, and like many in Japan was first introduced to the ideas of Dada and Surrealism in around 1923 by imported and translated books and journals. Within these journals, painting, collage or graphic poems and Dada verse were presented as having equivalent value, so that unlike in Europe, where poetry led the charge toward Surrealism, in Japan, pictorial Surrealism developed in tandem with poetry.

Kitasono began to publish poems in Dada style from 1924, followed later by more Surrealistic (less nonsensical) poetry and mixes of words and image. Eventually, he subsumed his lyrical expression within pure images, mostly photographic constructs that he called plastic poetry. Kitasono, as the leading visual poet of his time, influenced most of the artists displayed here.

In general, Kitasono and his group called Vou diverged from French Surrealists and German or Italian Futurists in their reduced emphasis on emotionalism or psychological discovery. Of more central importance to this group was the conscious act of disassociation and recombination of ideas as an exercise to expand one’s perception in the creation of art.

Resources of earlier art combining words and images in abstract ways may have allowed artists like Kitasono Katsue (Katue) to progress in the field of graphic poetry at a much greater rate than artists in the West. Western artists produced works during the 1950s of equivalent type to that which Kitasono made in the 1920s and 1930s. Ezra Pound, a correspondent of Kitasono, claimed about the latter’s journal and club Vou and its contributors that “…nowhere in Europe is there any such vortex of poetic alertness. Tokyo takes over where Paris stopped.” Kitasono also published in Vou works by poets such a Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsburg, and Kenneth Rexroth, opening a window for Japanese poets to read works by poets from abroad.

- Hollis Goodall, Curator, Japanese Art (2007)