Takanori Iwase, Japan – Wood Engravings “River Crow”

“River Crow” is an accompanied by relaxing music video with small-format wood engravings – masterpieces of the first prize winner Takanori Iwase, Japan:

In the Shikotsu-Toya National Park on the northernmost main Japanese island, Hokkaido, the Yōtei Mountain rises. With its picturesque form, it resembles Fuji. At the foot of the mountain, in Ebetsu, lives the artist Takanori Iwase. Water: that’s what artists and poets love. In its interaction with poetry and painting, the landscape serves as a mirror of the divine. Again and again, artists and poets go outside to embrace the manifold forces of the universe. The most powerful temple is often nature itself.

Takanori Iwase walks and paints alongside the river near to this mountain on Hokkaido. At daybreak, he is already out, watching the light of the sun intensify and depicting it with a pencil. Indeed, you can often find artists and poets amongst nature and wherever you can dream, inspired by the moon, shimmering light and the sounds of the universe. Takanori Iwase carves the indescribable into his wood stick. His portrayal of the moment is focused primarily on a tale about a river crow and the light. In her fair-haired appearance, his pictures are reminiscent of silver and gold harp strings, on which dazzling tones resound, interwoven with the scent of bizarre flowers found by the rock stream of a Japanese water garden.

Even a painted landscape should be flooded with the vital energy that forms it; indeed, the artist must master it, because a landscape is inspired and permeated by the divine. Like a poem, a picture wants to appear bright and fragrant. Takanori Iwase’s artworks are closely related to the haiku in their genesis or spirit.

Magic places and water are directly related. The soft water, which according to Lao Tzu, forms hard stone, ripples, sways, falls and jumps – mixed with the rustling of the leaves in the wind. According to Shintoism, which is worshiped in Japan’s places of worship, the kami spirits live in the water, rocks and trees. Meanwhile, Zen Buddhism created meditative landscapes of great charm in gardens surrounding its temples.

There is also the bilingual art and gift book “Silber der Bach – Silver the Creek” with the video pictures and haiku, which is based on a solo exhibition of Takanori Iwase, held in 2018 in Cologne (Germany):


Takanori Iwase was awarded First Prize by an international jury in the “Enter into Art” competition. Two years earlier, he won an Excellence Award (www.meditaterra.de). His small-format wood engravings are masterpieces of the printing technique. Born in 1959 in Sapporo, he studied from 1981 to 1984 at the Kanazawa College of Arts.

In contrast to the woodcut technique, in wood engraving, fine lines are engraved with a prick in the wood, which appear in white on a black background. Opposite to what happens in copper engraving, this will produce lighting effects. From an irregularly shaped wooden pressure plate, a work of art is conjured up. Through his delicate representation of the light, Takanori Iwase’s images convey a wonderfully lyrical mood. The lines become waves and the dark areas become stones or branches.


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