Mishima Kimiyo embarked on her 50-year artistic career with still lifes. Eventually, she transitioned from representational to abstract, as she started to utilize the papier collé technique, pasting cutouts of newspapers and magazines onto her canvases.
In French, papier collé means ‘pasted paper’ or ‘paper cutouts’ and exclusively refers to the use of paper, whereas collage may utilize non-paper components. This technique has been used by Pablo Picasso, George Braque, and others.
Looking back at her early works, we can see that the newspaper and magazine articles that Mishima incorporates were carefully selected to represent the social circumstances of the time. An avid listener of contemporary composers like Takemitsu Toru, Mishima uses the entirety of a poster promoting a concert in Japan by the pianist Kurt Rapf in Work 67 – B. In her series titled, Venus, she uses newspapers in English. In the top left of Transfiguration of Venus Ⅱ, we can see an article from 1965 reporting the change of leadership in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), an organization established in 1890 by the descendants of those who fought in the American War of Independence. Mishima places the cutout of this article next to the image of Venus from Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, famous for its reverent depiction of women.
These cutouts of various newspapers, magazines, and advertisement leaflets are incorporated into the frame with a silkscreen method creating a complex pictorial space where technique and meaning intersect. It has always been important for Mishima to find expression for the Contemporary. Her use of papier collé, specifically with socially and culturally important printed material, was a necessary step in her journey as an artist.
Although these early works were only a single stage in her evolution, they were fundamental to the three-dimensional works based on newspapers and magazines that she later dedicated herself to. In this exhibition, we are proud to present these works that are the bridge between her early representational works and her ceramic sculptures.