Entering  the inner sanctum of Noriko Yanagisawa



How many times you visited Romania and what are your most relevant memories about the country?


Noriko Yanagisawa

I have visited Romania three times. The first time was in 1999 when I had a chance to have my first solo exhibition at the National Museum of Art of Romania. The second time was in 2006 and the third time was in 2017 when I had my second solo exhibition at the National Museum.

Among many memories of those three visits, the most impressive one was in 1999, visiting Brancusi’s

hometown “Hobitza” where he was born.  What made me so fascinated were, first of all,

his  birth house, it was a rustic farmhouse. Then a motif of the bird which can be seen frequently in his art works, I found them on the wood carvings which was covering over the gate pillars of that house.

 How popular is Constantin Brancusi in Japan? Did you visit Targu Jiu with his famous works?


Noriko Yanagisawa

In Japan, Brancusi is well known as a modern sculptor, the secondly famous after Rodin.

Brancusi is the artist whose popularity is particularly high among artists.


When I visited his birth house, I have also stopped over Targu Jiu and spent some time to see

「Infinity Column」and 「The Gate of The Kiss」.



Noriko Yanagisawa

How much do you know about Isamu Noguchi, the sculptor who worked with Brancusi and was influenced by the Romanian artist?


I have stayed in New York from 197 till 1975.

During this period, I became acquainted with Mr. Isamu Noguchi.

We have mingled intimately, like visiting his studio which is now known as a museum, inviting him to my home parties.

Based on a relationship, I am serving for” Isamu Noguchi Foundation of Japan, Inc”

as  a member of the council.

In the natural course of the event, I know Noguchi has learned a lot from Brancusi during the period of visiting Brancusi in Paris who has owned an atelier there.

Tell us about your latest exposition of art in Bucharest, “Dream of the Land”, last year, reported by the Romanian media. The National Museum of Art introduced you as one of the most famous artists of your generation, with half a century of activity.


Entering the inner sanctum of Noriko Yanagisawa


As I mentioned earlier, I had my first solo exhibition in 1999 at the National Museum,

then,  18 years later, the second solo exhibition in the same space of the same museum.

I was very honored to have been given such wonderful chances like these and I deeply appreciated all the persons who supported me to make it.

I must recognize that the display conditions were remarkably improved in the latest one, compared to the previous one, 18 years ago, also in terms of how my works were displayed and quality of beautifully designed catalogs.

And  having  given an opportunity to have a lecture at National University of Arts Bucharest before the exhibition’s opening, that experience was very special for me. Students who have attended that lecture came to the exhibition and helped us  looking after guests. It was a wonderful experience for me in this visit. I was quite impressed by the fact that those students are very much interested in Japanese Culture through the Japanese animations.

Let me express my gratitude to the museum for extending the exhibition for 10 days and gave some chances to more people to come to see my works even after I left Romania.


You come from Shizuoka, the prefecture of Mount Fuji. How much this symbol of Japan is influencing  the visual arts in your country?


As you mentioned, Mt. Fuji has been the symbol of Japan, firstly in the literally world, many of the famous poets from the “Man yoshu” which is the oldest Japanese anthology of the poems of 7~8th century, those poets adopted Mt. Fuji as the theme for their poems.

In the visual arts fields, many Ukiyoe artists from Edo period (  17 th Century~Mid 18 th century) like Hokusai, Hiroshige and others , often adopted Mt. Fuji as the theme for their works. Furthermore, especially their dynamic expressions and composition gave great impacts on painters of impressionism in France. In the modern Japanese society, Japanese famous painter called Taikan Yokoyama adopted Mt. Fuji as the theme for his drawings. This trend was inherited by heirs of the Japanese style painting artists of this modern days, as well as oil painting artists, too.



Entering the inner sanctum of Noriko Yanagisawa


Entering the inner sanctum of Noriko Yanagisawa



The fossil nautilus and the wings are two of the leitmotifs of your creation. Are they linked to the passing of time and our ephemeral life?


I have no intentions at all to raise objections against various translations for the motifs like Bodies, Wings, Fossil Nautiluses, Animals, etc. which I often use in my works. I, myself, pick up shape of the things and colors by my intuition at that moment and I have no idea how it would be changed in my works in the future. In that sense, those motifs can be said the foretaste of shapes and colors in coming future for me.

If I had to give some word to those motifs I should say Fossil Nautiluses mean Memories from the ancient times and as well as Time, and Wings mean Harmonious relations between human and animals.


Entering the inner sanctum of Noriko Yanagisawa

You travelled a lot in the world, and especially to New York. Which is the most attractive city for artists, in your opinion?


I travelled often to New York, other places in the U.S.A.  and some developed countries in Europe.

Since I have an interest in art works of artists mainly who are working in the same period as I am also working, therefore I tried to spend some time to see their works as much possible as I could.

I am more inspired for my own artistic works to visit places like Bangladesh or India where people are living just the way they are.







Entering the inner sanctum of Noriko Yanagisawa


Noriko Yanagisawa


Born in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka prefecture

1965 M.A. in oil painting, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music

2003~2011 Professor of printmaking at Musashino Art University


<Selected awards>

1964 32nd Japan Print Association Prize

1991 Cultural Encouragement Prize, Shizuoka Prefecture Board of Education

1999 Tokyo Station Gallery Prize for painting, Garden at the Waterfront ’99,

East Japan Railway Foundation

2001 Tenth Gen Yamaguchi Memorial Grand Prize for Garden at the Waterfront V, Numazu City


<Selected Public Collections>

The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama

Ikeda 20th Century Museum of Art, Shizuoka

Kakegawa Ninomaru Art Museum

Hamamatsu City Art Museum

Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts

Sakata City Museum of Art

Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, Haifa

San Francisco Art Museum


Noriko Yanagisawa este nascuta in orasul Hamamatsu, prefectura Shizuoka si absolventa a sectiei de pictura a Universitatii de Arte din Tokyo. In perioada 1971-1975 a locuit si a creat la New York. In anul 1992 a avut o bursa la Londra, din partea Agentiei Culturale Japoneze. In perioada 2003-2011 a fost profesor la Universitatea de Arte din Musashino. A expus in diferite orase din Japonia, precum si in Lisabona, Florenta, San Paolo, Shanghai.


Reprezentantă a şcolii de gravură japoneză contemporană, Noriko Yanagisawa (n. 1940) se  numără printre cei mai cunoscuţi artişti ai generaţiei sale. În cele peste cinci decenii de activitate, artista a expus în Japonia şi în străinătate, lucrările sale regăsindu-se în colecţii muzeale din întreaga lume.

Pornind de la o înţelegere profundă a efemerului existenţei umane şi a temelor legate de natură, Noriko Yanagisawa ilustrează în lucrările sale fragmente dintr-o mitologie personală, sub forma unor motive şi simboluri predilecte, reluate de-a lungul unor ample serii de lucrări precum:  Luminozitate, Început şi sfârşit, Visul pământului, Grădini la malul apei, Patos, Semne, etc.



Pentru realizarea acestui demers publicistic, mulțumim foarte mult distinsului domn  Radu Șerban, care a fost ambasadorul României în Japonia și cunoaște bine arta niponă.

Aristotel Bunescu


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