Junko Chodos: Centripetal Artist

Declaration: Centripetal Art

Until the dawn of the 20th Century, human beings stood always in some confessed relationship with Eternal Reality. The place where one received the Voice of Eternity and responded to it had functioned as the center of the human psyche. The denial of the relationship led to the loss of the center. It was a loss of faith which drove us on a long journey of lonely seeking. Forced to confront our subconscious and to go through a period of existential doubt, mankind lost both its innocence and its confidence.

The center of the human psyche has always been the place of art. Along the way of mankind’s long journey, artists explored the uncharted depths of human consciousness and many great works of art were born. But as art journeyed farther and farther away from the center*, the centrifugal force of nihilism led to extremes of self-denial and intentional fragmentation, to a pervasive cynicism and emptiness. Finally, in the twilight of the 20th Century, artists’ own disbelief in the power of art almost caused the death of art.**

In spite of this disbelief, art is a powerful force which gathers all the fragments of our selves – our despair, our cynicism, our darkness and our aspiration – into the center of our psyche. The very act of creating art is a revelation: the powerful experience of receiving the image, and the autonomous expression of the image, these two become one in the act of creating art, and this is the essential quality of revelation.***

This revelation is made possible by the centripetal force of art. When art is created this way, the artist and the viewer, each approaching the work of art from a different side, both participate in the on-going act of Creation.

I call art which is produced this way, “centripetal art”, and I present that art here.

See this in Japanese

*Hans Sedlmayr, Art in Crisis: The Lost Center (1957, Hollis and Carter, London, Brian Battershaw translation). A central thesis of the book is that the loss of the center is a symptom of spiritual sicknesss.
** Arthur C. Danto,
After the End of Art (Mellon Lectures, National Gallery of Art, Princeton University Press, 1997)
***Martin Buber,
I and Thou (1970, Charles Scribner & Sons, Walter Kaufmann translation), at p. 166, speaking of revelation: “It is not man’s own power that is at work here, neither is it merely God passing through; it is a mixture of the divine and the human.”

In the Forest of Amida Buddha No. 23 (1993)
Sumi ink and acrylic on industrial mylar.
42”x76” [107 cm x 193 cm].

Late work in a series of 25 depicting an imaginary fire which passed through the mythical forest of Amida,
the god who rides down from heaven in a
chariot to ferry spirits back to the other world.