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Magnificent Obsessions

Magnificent Obsessions

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Kaikodo is pleased to present our Spring 2012 sales exhibition and the corresponding 28th volume of Kaikodo Journal, Magnificent Obsessions, available on request and presented online here. The title refers on the one hand to those irrepressible passions and all-consuming fixations that makes great artists and consummate craftsmen create as they do, that propels societies to erect the monuments to themselves that they do, and impels great collectors to pursue that one additional treasure and then the next and the next. It also refers to the creations themselves, the manifestations of these passions, the objects of our admiration and affection.

A devotion to the art of painting, to the efficacy of technique and to the masters themselves led to the creation of The Ten Bamboo Studio, a quintessential instructional manual which Kaikodo is privileged to offer in its most complete extant set, containing 185 of 186 original pictorial leaves and 139 of the 140 original poems. This edition, along with at least sixteen other sets in museums and private collections, was printed from the original woodblocks produced in 1633.

Chinese painting remains one of Kaikodo’s magnificent obsessions and the present exhbition includes a selection dating from the 13th century to the 21st century, including a work attributed to the early master Yan Wengui. Two exceptionally compelling contemporary works are the results on one hand of an obsession to bring images of nature to an iconic level through the lens of a camera and the eye of the artist–Michael Cherney’s Sacred Tree on Mt Lu and, on the other, of conceptual artist Lee Mingwei’s deep commitment to exploring the relationship between man and creation, here in the form of Stone Journeys.

A selection of ritual and funerary objects from the late Zhou through the Tang dynasty reflects the Chinese preoccupation with life after life, with man’s existence in the afterlife while a number of ceramics from the later dynasties are magnificent expressions of the artist visiting the needs and demands, the whims and obsessions of his clients, no better expressed than through a group of late Ming porcelains that also reflect the Japanese obsession at that time with things “made in China.” A collector’s reverence for an early Ming Longquan celadon jar has turned that great jar, through its exquisite wood stand and jade-topped wood lid, into a magnificent one.

An album of paintings depicting flowers, animals, and figures by the great 17th century Japanese master Ogata Korin is the consummate expression of the concept we’ve termed Magnificent Obsessions—where artist, creation, and collector play their roles to absolute perfection.

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