Sin Sin Fine Art is staging an exciting ink show of an emerging Japanese artist – Satoshi Katayama, in collaboration with WADO PROJECT (Japan).  It is the first solo exhibition for Katayama in Hong Kong, showcasing in total 19 pieces of ink artwork. Katayama has been fervently experimenting the ink medium and exploring its possibility. After a long period of investigation, he comes striding to Hong Kong with his fascinating outcomes on Sumi ink research. In the exhibition, you will get to know the manifold characters of ink works through Katayama’s artistic expressions and also feel the vitality and tenderness of the Sumi ink up close!

Stepping into Sin Sin Fine Art, you will immediately feel submerged in a sea of blueness. Azure, denim and sapphire blue, many of the ink paintings are in shades of darker blue. They are repetitive in forms, sharing one blue patch sliding across the bottom half of the work. The painting speaks of imagery, one of which you could associate closely with is water. A still and calm water body floating on the calligraphic paper. Sin Sin Man and Eriko Taira curated the exhibition by assembling similar pieces together and aligning the patches in the artwork. In such an arrangement, the paintings are sewed up and stretching an infinity horizon across the gallery. The water bodies break the framing boundary, expanding into a sea filling up the hall with accentuated calmness and stillness, which eventually cleanse your agony and attachment deep inside. When you’re standing amidst the gallery, you will immediately have the experience immersing into an ocean of serenity.

Satoshi Katayama | Water VI | Sumi ink, Gasenshi calligraphic paper on wooden panel 2017

The blue patch is not as simple as a plain brushstroke. In fact it is not even a brushwork painting abstraction. The water series, beside being artistically composed, is highly valued with its watery texture, demonstrating the characteristic of fluidity, tenderness and amorphous liquid matter. It’s a special technique Katayama has recently developed, and it captures less known facet of the water cross section. It’s neither ink on paper nor marbling, even though it involves a water body as one of its media.

The texture of liquidity is formed with an actual imprint of Sumi ink fluid. And that’s why the artwork appears with a wealth of features of ink flowing and dancing on the stage the water medium. The blue and black Sumi ink have to be well-blended in a certain proportion with water, so that it could create a foreground of black ink stripes flowing in the background of blue Sumi ink, adding more dimensions to the work.

Satoshi Katayama | Water II | Sumi ink , Gasenshi calligraphic paper on wooden panel 2017.  Katayama’s Water series without blue Sumi ink.

The emotion of water series truly reflects artist’s state of mind during the art-making. Katayama told me he has to stop thinking, unclutter his mind and deposit the dirt and dust in his spirit before taking up the making. The end result of ‘Water’ fully picturizes his peaceful mentality with precise skill and full readiness .

In addition to the series, this petite piece indeed intrigues me with its unique form. Comparing to all the Water paintings, other than its obviously diminutive size, its form tells other sort of emotions. The water body is slightly stirred with waves and ripples and the black ink movement at the foreground is much stronger and more vigorous. Especially with an unusual proportion of the watery patch surging up to two third of the calligraphic paper, pushing forward a turbulent wave to the spectators. Everything just clicks after Katayama telling me its his first piece ever in the Water series. The emotion here is excitement, his excitement arose after developing a new language in Sumi ink painting.

Satoshi Katayama| Water | sumi ink, Gasenshi calligraphic paper on wooden panel 2017. A unique piece in Water series with obvious wave and rippling.

Katayama is a self-taught artist and he was a tennis athlete before treading the artist path. The reason, according to him, was quite indefinite as he has been practising calligraphy since his childhood and he has cultivated a strong bonding with ink art. He would regard his decision as a gradual process when everything in his life is ready. Katayama is deeply fond of ink medium, his enjoyment arises from the perfect blending in the medium of ink and calligraphic paper. And the ‘Water’ series is also an excellent example showing how Sumi ink bleeds and sits into the calligraphic paper. Katayama has also worked on calligraphy in this exhibition with a style of bold composition and vivid imagery, attaching a profound and symbolic meaning to the Kanji characters.

Katayama’s calligraphy of the character – ‘空’ (Universe).

Artist Satoshi Katayama (Middle) with Curators Sin Sin Man (Leftmost) and Eriko Tairo.

Satoshi Katayama shares his Water series’ making-of:



1 June – 15 July 2017

Opening Hours:
Mon – Sat : 9:30am – 6:30pm
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays