画家・下浦康瑞(シモウラコウズイ) ギャラリーコウズイ GALLERY KOUZUI




Kouzui Shimoura,Expresses mountains,understanding their essence

Mt. Fuji has been an important theme for painters in Japan since the Edo period,
and the Huangshan Mountain was an essential motif to painters at the turn of dynasty from Ming to Ching in China. It is well known that Cezanne in his later years used to paint Mont Sante-Victoire day after day. Both in the East and the West, many painters since old times have painted mountains,from the small ones neighboring on villages to the big like the Japan Alps and tbe Himalayas.
Rising to the sky,mountains are sublime and beautiful. But they sometimes refuse and lead us astray. As religious,sporting,adventurous and purely aesthetic objects, mountains have been adored and held us in awe. Needless to say,they have attracted many painters. Kouzui Shimoura is one of them,and has been fascinated with mountains.
ln 1956,it was on the news that the Japan Mountaineering Party had sueceeded in reaching the summit of Mt. Manaslu in the Himalayas.
Mt. Manaslu is 8,156 meters in height and the eighth highest mountain in the world.
The news deeply moved many people, and also touched Shimoura's heart.
At that time he was a junior high school boy in Osaka, and the following year he recklessly challenged to climb Hodaka mountains.
Although be climbed with his elder brother,it was nothing but adventure. Shimoura looks back over it and says, " I climbed with jeans and canvas shoes on, without crampons. As l didn't know about mountains,l didn't care about my outfit.
It was thoughtless climbing.When l think of it now, that climbing must have heen as dangerous as losing my life. All l had was an enthusiasm for climbing, which moved me into such an action without thinking about the fear of nature. Therefore,I had just a broad impression that the mountain was big and beautiful,and couldn't feel the atmosphere deeply as l lost my composure in this adventure."

This is his memory of fifteen years old. Since then, mountains have fascinated him, and become a main motif for his painting. From twenty to twenty-eight years old,
he had lived and worked in mountains, mainly Mt.Hodaka mountains and Mt.Tsurugi.
He had shut himself into them for eight months a year. This was a start of building up his experience in mountains. He says, "I used to stand my easel at the hut and paint mountains day after day. Sometimes I would go down to villages to buy foods and necessities for painting and again go up. Mountains were changing day after day,in the morning and the evening, under the clear sky and the dark sky.Once or twice a year, I have come across incredible scenes, which were as marvelous as I had a feeling of awe. This experience hecame my big fortune, 
and has made up my humble stance to mountains.
The more experience I have got in climbing them, the more discoveries I have.
Paintings express not only realistic but also fictitious world. Therefore it could be reasonable to deform a visible world, but it becomes unworthy if the deformation is the lack of the subject's essence. It is very difficult to understand essence of mountains.

The world of colours and forms heightened mystica11y

Is it true that only mountaineers could understand the essence of mountains?
Shimoura says, "Only the people who have climbed mountains could grasp the essence." He also says that it is difficult to express their beauties which he wants to paint on the canvas, though he has a lot of experiences in mountains. He recalls a day and says, "When I was living and orking in Mt.Tsurugi,I used to go to see the Toyama plains every evening.
The moment the sun sets,we have a high possibility to encounter graceful scenes of mountains. It was happened on a windy day,just before the typhoon came.
Glolden coloured clouds were running on the dark sky,red ones were leaving tracings above the horizon,and the brown rocky mountain was enhanced by light.
In the middle purple broken clouds appeared and green ones were floating up straight above the sea of clouds.This beautiful scenery was beyond all description."
Nature has profound beauties,and in some cases it creates incredible colours.
Meanwhile,painting has profound expressions. Painting has to express such an incredible nature with paints. The colour seen in the mountain might be beyond our daily images. Simoura does not simply paint such a scene with ordnary colours.
His strong colour scheme he builds up is the fruit of earnest communication with mountains for many years.

When painters paint mountains, they usually feel interest in shapes of mountains.
Then they become keen to express their mystique. About this point, Shimoura says,"When I was twenty years old, I took charge of a small hut in Yatsugatake mountains and l was staying at just a six-mat room.
At night, however,l was seized with fear and got to no sleep until the dawn. The third day,I felt to be impatient to go back to town.
I recognized my weakness derived from the urban life. But strangely enough, this miserable feeling challenged me to go out on the fourth night, Just then I calmed down.
At break of dawn, the South Japan Alps, Mt. Kaikoma, and Mt.Fuji came into my sight, and then the sun raised. Unconsciously I said to thank the scenery.Since then I have had conceived an adoration for mountains, which is nothing to do with religious faith.
It doesn"t mean spiritualism, but it is impossible to express mountains without the adoration for them."

The Beauty of the Himalayas, leading into the universe
  When I was thirty years old, I climbed in the Himalayas for the first time, Since then I had climbed it every year for a certain period,
"The Himalayas is so big that we can not find any words to describe it, expect a word, the universe, it is entirely different from a world of 3,000 meters in height and beyond our images. More than 5,000 meters above cobalt blue sky spreads as if the sky made my hands dye in blue. It is as blue as the stratosphere becomes visible.
As an admonition to myself, I do not dare to step into a world more than 5,000 meters.
If I were young, I might have enough energy to climb upper. Meanwhile I have another feeling that I want to keep it unknown for me to be more imaginative," he says.
  his work called 'Longing for Muztagh Tower' has a marvelous scene as if mountains were floating in the air, In this work, he expresses his longing for the mountain which he has never been to, His longing and passion for mountains never fade away.
 Although he has painted various mountains, now the Himalayas is the main theme of his works. His interest in mountains originated in a report and a documentary movie of climbing up to the summit of Mt. Manaslu. When the commemorative exhibition for the opening of the Kansai International Airport Was held in 1994, Shimoura"s works were exhibited along beside model planes reconstructed by a scholar in planes of the Edo period. It is the leader of the ountaineering party of Mt, Manaslu who cut the tape for the opening.
It was a curious turn of the fate, but this occastion remaided him of his starting point, Mt,Manaslu, There might be few chances to come across the beauty Shimoura is looking for, Even if he climbs various mountains from the Himalayas which is a climax of his career, to Mt, Manaslu as his starting point, his adoration to mountains would not fade away, To understand the essence of express it and this process could be his work itself,
(Free-lance writer,Mutsuo MIZUGAMI)



14才の少年期、日本山岳会がヒマラヤの一峰8163mのマナスルに登頂、 その時の記録映画を鑑賞し、その紺碧の空の中に聳える真白く気高いヒマラヤの峰々の映像を見た時、あまりの美しさに生気を呑みました。
この巨大なテーマを絵画を通してどこまで表現しえるか、その想いを心に、20才の時より10年間を日本の北アルプスを生活の場とし、一年間の多くの日々を 山岳の中に身を置きそこを研鑽の場といたしました。

1959年〜1969年 北アルプスに入山 山籠もり


台風の近付く剣岳3000mでの夕景。強風の吹き荒れる岩尾根に身を置き、天空はどこまでも蒼黒く、その遥高空には黄金色の糸雲が散らばり、雲海の彼方地平線上には真っ赤な糸雲がどこまでも点在し、足元の雲海の雲々は緑色又は紫色と乱れ立ち上がり、剣岳の岩峰は赤黒く、それは巨大な魔王のごとく天地を威圧し、その天空から神々が大地を鷲掴みにするような恐怖にかられる極美の世界を体感体験いたしました。 私はいまだそれを表現するに至っておりません。


”山”という共通のものを通じ、 ネパール王国皇族の方々とも親交が深く、 ゴダバリにあるネパール王国国立植物園内において美術館を建設する話が持ち上がる。



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