Translation of the speech by Mukon Ohmori at the opening of his 1994 London Exhibition
Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am very pleased to see you all. My name is Mukon Ohmori. This is my wife, Teruko Ohmori. It is kind of you all to come.

As you know England and Japan have many things in common. Both countries have Royal Families. Both of the countries are small islands surrounded by the oceans. Therefore both countries have developed and become prosperous without having been over-run by larger neighbours.

About 1000 yeas ago, England received and absorbed some influence from Europe and created its own culture. About the same time, Japan also received and absorbed some influence from China and created the original Japanese cultures.

One aspect of our Japanese culture, Japanese calligraphy and Japanese painting, I am exhibiting today. Originally these were monochromatic; an attempt to depict a profoundly mysterious world by using only black ink on white paper.

Japanese Calligraphy is a traditional freehand art form. It expresses famous sayings, poems and songs by spontaneous free-hand brush strokes. This has been highly developed into an art form by the various styles of independent artists.

Japanese Black Water Ink painting is also a traditional art form depicting our profoundly mysterious world by using techniques which manipulate the dark and light tones of black ink. It is recorded that both calligraphy and Black Water Ink paintings can last for 1500 years without the colour fading.

Impressionists such as Monet, Gaugin and Van Gogh were interested in Japanese art forms and tried to learn from them in the 19th century. They created some works which are faithful copies of the Japanese originals, and some of their original works also show a clear Japanese influence.

My works which I am exhibiting today are based on the Japanese traditional methods. But in addition, I have applied two original brush techniques, Wet-Touch and Dry-Touch, which had been forbidden for a long time. I also tried to modernise them by applying a hint of colour.

Wet-Touch is a brush technique which applies plenty of ink to write letters on Japanese paper. This produces a blotting effect of letters blurred on the paper.

Dry-Touch applies minimum ink to obtain a scratchy effect in the writing, using a quick brush stroke.

Wet Touch is static and conveys a wet and warm feeling. In contrast, Dry Touch is dynamic and conveys energy and speed.

The distinguishing feature of my work is the harmonious combination of these opposing styles. This generates a unified image with a unique atmosphere.

It would give me great pleasure if this exhibition might give birth to a new style of calligraphy as an art form in English culture. I hope it will blossom in the years to come.

Please look at the work I have exhibited here. If you feel transported even for a minute; if you feel that light has penetrated the unfamiliar forest of Japanese art, I will be very happy. I will be very glad that I have come here from far off Japan.


You may now wish to look at examples of Mukon Ohmori's work, or you may wish to return to the Japanese Calligraphy page.
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Copyright © 1994, 2001 Graham G Hawker