“Beni” is characterised by its unique brilliance and color, which gives it a fascinating appearance.Beni, which Isehan preserves, is booming in the art world.
Isehan protects and transmits theBeniculture. It is known as "the last showcase of crimson red in Japan". Through his work, the contemporary artist Noritaka Tatehana intends to show another facet of "Beni". What is the new charm ofBenithat is emerging today and what are the reflections behind Tatehana's work?
“Beni” is a heritage of the Japanese culture. I want you to perceive the value of this product
Beniis obtained by the extraction of only one percent of the pigment contained in red petals and by exception-al craftsmanship. Its appeal lies in its unique and naturally iridescent color. It attracts attention thanks to its unique and genuinely natural color, and guarantees a good quality red. It is said that its lustre changes over time, depending on temperature and humidity. It does not remain the same. Throughout the history of Japan, crimson red has been used not only for decoration but also as a bringer of good luck. Indeed, it symbolizes life because it is associated with the sun, fire and the color of blood.Beni, which fascinates by its various facets, is ephemeral and, at the moment, it is a privileged means of expression for many people. This time, what is Tatehana trying to express using “Beni”?
Beni painted on glass allows different perceptions depending on how the light passes through.
Beni has a singular history, which reinforces its charm.
This time it is theBeniof Isehan that is used for the creation. It is a long established shop that has maintained its tradition, it is said to be the lastBenishop in Japan.Benihas a long history, but the fact that it is so widely used in Japan is surely due to the fact that women of the Edo period used it for make-up. Although it is difficult to conceive in modern times, the only make-up products available at that time were white powder, white paint, India ink andBenired. As a result,BeniRed was used not only to color lips but also to make several products such as eye shadows and blush.Beniis a woman’s delight if she wants to look beautiful. It is a real guarantee of femininity.Beniis the answer to a quest for beauty that remains and will last over time. Its appeal will remain intact.
The color changes according to the number of layers, this is its asset.
I want to present a new “Beni”
Tatehana talks about this collaborative work.
“I will focus on the unique brilliance of the iridescent color ofBeniand try to express its different aspects through two works with different aims. One of them is the theme of the “vanishing point” from the perspective of painting, which is also the core of my series of works. It is a mode of expression that uses industrial materials and the refraction of the image that occurs when they are superimposed. The “vanishing point” plays an important role in my creative activities. I define some perspectives on various subjects such as self and others, memory and reality, life and death. And I express the boundaries by drawing lines and using different patterns.
This unique iridescent glow testifies to the good quality of the color.
“Another of my works consists of dyeing leather inBeniand using this special red to create Heelless Shoes. The aim is to bring out the natural tones that are characteristic of realBeni. Through my work, I try to reinvent a know-how that has survived through the ages. I hope that my works will allow you to rediscover the cultural and artisanal richness of theBeniwhich, in my opinion, deserves to be valued at the present time .
The combination ofBeniculture and Tatehana’s reflections reminds us thatBeniis not a simple colour. I hope you will feel its fascinating glow which so unique.
Photo by Satomi Yamauchi