EXCLUSIVE: Japanese artist talks about ‘Zen art’ on bread which is winning the world’s heart

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Japanese Artist Talks About Zen Art On Bread - We The World Magazine

Artists, of all people, are a different species of humans. For they have this extraordinary perception to find beauty in the most unnoticed, underrated, and ‘regular’ things… like bread?

Tokyo-based artist and designer Manami Sasaki turns lockdown blues into lockdown satisfaction. At least for us, it is that way.  

Whereas baking bread is a part of her daily life, the coronavirus crisis, coupled with forced work-from-home, has taken his creativity to some different lengths. 

Zen Art, a form of Japanese aesthetic (detailed later in the article) takes a sublime turn with Sasaki and her art on bread. Here, simple slices of ordinary bread become portraits of a fine art specimen.  

Image courtesy of Manami Sasaki via Instagram

Sasaki, who’s a foodie and ‘is very particular about her choice of ingredients’ uses different components to bring out her masterpieces. Sometimes floral murals, sometimes pattern and designs; not every day you get to see these kinds of stuff. 

Image courtesy of Manami Sasaki via Instagram

She uses ingredients like seaweeds (roasted at times), sour cream, tomato sauce, mint leaves, paprika, mustard, macadamia nuts, purple cabbage, rice, mayo, avocado dip, and others, to give shape to her thinking that goes on to become more than food. Zen Art to be definitive. 

Image courtesy of Manami Sasaki via Instagram

“This baking activity is a part of the daily routine of my home life,” the artist tells WeTheWorld Magazine. “This is the breakfast I’m making to get up early in the morning because working from home in Corona makes me lazy.” 

Image courtesy of Manami Sasaki via Instagram

Further explaining her work, the Tokyo-based artist shares food is one of the things she cherishes, and it is more a ‘ritual to start the day than a concept.’

“This is a theme that I love. This (art) is an interesting way of expressing food; she says, “like preserving the color and shape of the food, enjoying the difference between before and after baking, etc.” 

Image courtesy of Manami Sasaki via Instagram

We couldn’t resist the urge to ask how do you make this beautiful art on bread? She says she will use ‘tools at home’ as an ordinary butter knife, toothpicks, tweezers, embroidery needle, etc., for her works. 

Image courtesy of Manami Sasaki via Instagram

This Is Not Just it

This bread art (we’re calling it) is not the only work he excels at. Manami Sasaki also masters a rather elusive form of art, that she calls the ‘Face to Face” series. 

“My focus is on conceptual art initiatives,” she says. “This work is a part of the “FACE TO FACE” series, and we plan to add more in the future.” 

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FACE to FACE #2 対外的に見せるペルソナ(「こう認識されたい」と表現する一義的な自己)ではなく、対面で見える揺らぎや歪みの"らしさ”に、人らしさ、美しさを感じたりします。 人為的なものはちょっと脆い。 FACE to FACEシリーズは、対面やSNSでのコミュニケーションで感じたペルソナの違和感がきっかけで制作を始めました。1枚目の模様が揃った状態が、対外的に見せるペルソナ。作品実物はほぼどこから見ても歪みを持った状態。シリーズのタイトルは、自分⇄相手ではなく、自分⇄自己との対面、という意味合いです。 (印刷?って聞かれますが、実際は片目つぶって地道に描いてます笑) ある程度の作品点数が完成したら、展示してコンセプト・アウトプットについてしっかり言語化したい💭 #FACEtoFACE #artwork #art #artist #conceptualart #artgallery #sculpture #painting #flower #flowers #identity #fashion #paint #face #object #gallery #作品 #アート #アートワーク #美術 #芸術 #絵画 #展示

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What you can see below is a specimen of ‘FACE TO FACE” art and the theme is to mirror “the true person you are, and the different selves that appear through social networking sites and other forms of communication,” the artist explains. 

“When viewed from a single point of view, the picture is aligned, but if the angle is changed even slightly, it is distorted.

“It’s your true-self that is warped. The message is that there is no such thing as a perfect ideal.” 

Manami Sasaki clarifies that the purpose of this art is meant “not only to bring your face to face with others but also to bring you face to face with your true self.” 

 Karesansui; expressing the divine 

Zen art came to Japan from the Zen sect, one of the many factions of Buddism. According to the legends, when Bodhidharma, an Indian Buddhist monk, bought the Chan Buddhism to China, after that it is thought to have been propagated to Japan in the 7th Century, by the Chinese Buddhist missionaries. 

One of the primary catalysts of Zen Art is the hurdles between human existence and attaining enlightenment, according to Japan Objects

The iconic 16th-Century painting of Bodhidharma (Daruma in Japanese) by artist Kano Soshu shows the great monk crossing the Yangzi River on a reed, and it is said she bought the Zen Buddhist teaching to China from there. 

Image courtesy of the Met Museum

The spectacular ink-stroke art highlights the CenterPoint of Zen Buddhism (Chan Buddhism) that life doesn’t have to be extravagant to exist meaningfully. 

Zen Art has evolved into many themes and cultures. One such Zen culture is Karesansui; which Sasaki’s bread artwork portrays. She says she loves this so much and hence made it a theme. 

What is Kaesansui? According to Matcha, it is a Zen ideology that uses rocks and sand in gardening to express nature and the universe. Karesansui uses the same sand and stones to create effects that illustrate something else like water in motion and mountains. 

What we see in her art too recreates something else with components something else. 

(Cover image courtesy of Manami Sasaki via Instagram)

For more such too-good-to-be-true arts, follow Manami Sasaki on Instagram. The artist frequently updates his posts with amazing Japanese artworks. Which one do you find the best? Comment below.