Papillon blanc dans le sablier, 2015

Chinese ink and seawater from Surville (Manche) on paper.

100 x 70 cm.

Signed on the recto.

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The paper is brushed with seawater, following which there is a long pause to allow the seawater to evaporate and the artist to draw his image with Chinese black ink.


Both these activities happen together, working with Time to finish the drawing before the paper completely dries. It is a surprising and extraordinary process, showing how the Chinese ink reacts with the salty surface of the paper!  The crystals of salt will remain solidly embedded in the paper fiber, producing a subtle and beautiful iridescence and giving the ink drawing a delicately diffused quality.


Quite by chance several years ago, Sakata discovered this very interesting reaction…. the Chinese ink changes its permeability to water, according to the density of the mineral salts in the seawater.


Delicate black motifs are created by the diffusion of ink and salty water and the various size of crystals formed by evaporation on the surface of the paper. Unfortunately, it is impossible to show these fine effects with a photograph and the magical light reflected by the crystals of salt!


The artist also uses rock salt coming from different mines from all over the world (Wieliczka in Poland, Khewra in Punjab ...). Rock salt is an ‘Ocean’ which disappeared several million years ago!!! It contains more mineral elements than today’s seawater and its solution gives a very different effect.

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Eizo Sakata (Aichi, Japan, 1954) is a painter and performance artist who lives and works in Paris. Originally a student of mathematical engineering at the University of Tokyo, Sakata committed to his childhood love of painting in 1983, moving to France to explore his passion. His art has evolved from his initial style of personally expressive painting; he now seeks to incorporate nature, the environment, and people in an approach he calls "Active Passivity". Water also runs thematically throughout Sakata's paintings, as evidenced literally by his use of seawater and Chinese ink. His works have been shown at Galerie 89, Paris, France, (2014); L-Gallery, Nagoya, Japan (2007, 2012); Galerie Art Base, Brussels (2006).

the Jury of UNESCO Prize for Contemporary African Art.
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