At the MOMAT last March, (Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo) I spent the whole morning going through the museum’s collection on my free day. The 4th floor had art from the Meiji and Taisho periods from the 1900’s to 1926. The 3rd floor highlighted the Pre-war Showa Period and art during and after World War II--rather depressing , I struggled to get through this particular section but ike light at the end of a tunnel however, I found my favorite Japanese painting on the same floor—Jiro Yoshihara’s White on Black Circle.
I was instantly enamored of this particular work and managed to have a photo taken by a Japanese gentleman who politely indulged me despite the language barrier.
Jiro’s circle was created by leaving the white canvas unpainted while painting the background black. Interestingly when asked about his circles, Yoshihara revealed that he could not manage to paint even one circle to his satisfaction. This was a true indication of the depths of his pursuit of this form. Indeed, no two of his circles are shaped exactly alike.
If you focused your energy on the brush, could you yourself paint two identical circles in this lifetime?