Painter, filmmaker, potter, calligrapher, ikebana master, designer, and impresario - Teshigahara is an artist in the fullest sense of the word. In Dore Ashton's sparkling account of Teshigahara's life and work, the artist shines as a seminal figure who has vaulted boundaries between the arts in a quest for new ways to express creativity. No discussion of postwar Japanese visual or cinematic arts can be complete without him.
It was perhaps inevitable that Teshigahara's life in art would be a quest for resolution: between past and present, inherited and avant-garde forms, Japanese tradition and Western innovation.
As the son of the multi-talented artist and ikebana master Sofu, Teshigahara grew up with an acute consciousness of Japanese art history. Yet he reached maturity in the wake of World War II, and his artistic consciousness was forged in that crucible of intellectual and artistic energies where, with young talents like Kobo Abe and Segi Shinichi, he sought to rebuild a Japanese identity from the ashes of defeat. His first medium was film - one of the few artistic domains unexplored by his father. The young Teshigahara established his name with documentaries, historical dramas, and adaptations of Abe's novels, most notably The Woman in the Dunes. During the 1960s he was the driving force behind Tokyo's alternative performance center, Sogetsu Hall. In the 1970s he broke new ground again, establishing a pottery at Echizen, only to succeed to the head of the Sofu ikebana school upon his father's death. With typical exuberance, Teshigahara has extended ikebana art to embrace bamboo and create applications for set design and installation. Meanwhile he continues his forays into othermedia. Drawing on extensive firsthand and published sources, Dore Ashton traces the eclectic influences on Teshigahara. She clearly sets off the dynamic tensions at play in Teshigahara's work, and pays particular attention to his contemporaries - essential given the artist's collabo