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DROP OF WATER: CIRCLE OF LIFE BY KENGIRO AZUMA
This artwork was created by Kengiro Azuma in 2011, on the occasion of the exhibition dedicated to the 60th year of priesthood of Pope Benedict XVI. As he was invited to participate to this very important event, the artist decided to pay homage to the Pope by creating this masterpiece. Goccia d’acqua, Ciclo della Vita (Drop of Water the circle of Life) embodies all the special characteristics that make this artist’s production so grand. Moreover, the artwork is marked by meticulous poetic attention to the material and by a symbolic rendering of the subject portrayed.
The composition encompasses elements that have been present in Azuma’s works since the 1970’s, when he worked as an assistant to Marino Marini. This occurred after his training in Japan, when he arrived in Milan in 1956 to complete his studies at the Academia of Brera. In this timespan, Azuma was sharpening his own personal language in order to achieve a combination between his original culture and his long experience in Italy that resulted quintessential for his artistic expression. The focus of this composition is the water drop. This element was already the protagonist of many of Azuma’s works, among which the monumental version located in the Palazzo Lanfranchi, in the suggestive scenario of the Sassi of Matera.
The water drop symbolizes life, perfect at ﬁrst glance, yet cut through by dark cavities that remind us of its inevitable incompleteness. The relation between fullness and emptiness is the fundamental principle around which the entire production of Azuma orbits. More precisely, it refers to the three basic themes of the Zen philosophy: the ‘Yu’ (concrete and deﬁned reality, the whole, the present, the visible); the ‘Ku’ (reality without any opposite, therefore a grand nothingness); and the ‘Mu’ (the null and inﬁnite nothingness, the absence, the invisible). In this case, the drop is positioned on a dark wooden parallelepiped. To its side, the artist eased down an ostensible chaos: wooden shingles that create a sort of bridge, almost as if the ensemble created a Zen garden, animated by few presences. Thus, inferring a composition that is severely minimalist, in which the geometric lines are opposed to the gleam of the metallic surface. Furthermore, the golden bronze holds a dialogue with the brown tones of the wood while the smoothness of the drop reﬂects its roughness.
State of Preservation:
Azuma’s artwork presents an alteration of the layers of metal alloy due to the decay of the latter. The decay was caused by a chemical action of detergents previously used and not removed. The detergents, covered by a protective layer, continued their chemical action, creating the need of maintenance in order to stabilize the metal.
Restoration Process Includes:
Photographic documentation of the state of preservation
Detachment from the wooden support base
Analysis of the decay and alloy composition
Removal of substances of various nature such as dust-particulate-etc. from the surfaces
Re-assembling and consolidation of the support base
Removal of old protective layer with solvents
Protective final varnish
Inventory Nr: 59914
The Drop of Water was restored thanks to the generosity of the Italian & International Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, and the Tear Film & Ocular Surface Society (TFOS)
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