Neige de Jakuchu is my first real string quartet.
Jakuchu was a Japanese painter born in 1716 and died in 1800. The painter’s extreme aesthetic singularity and technical virtuosity came as a real shock when I discovered his work, on the occasion of a magnificent exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno in May 2016.
Certain strokes and gestures, certain colors seem to contain everything that would later be developed in Japanese painting or pictorial expression, from Hokusai to manga. A quasi-expressionist motivic and chromatic abundance is often confronted by an almost diaphanous minimalism of ink: for me, the link between the two is embodied in the different textures that snow displays in his compositions. Shaded, projected, static, moving, dense, light, snow is also a vector of planes; I try to “musicalize” it as the quartet’s main material, while proposing a work on space between dazzling light and frozen fragility.
The quartet’s structure draws on the work of writer Antoine Volodine, who has already inspired earlier works, in particular my Nara cycle.
In his book Le post-exotisme en dix leçons (lesson eleven), Volodine explores literary forms he himself invented, such as shaggå, entrevoûtes, murmurat and narrats. Reappropriated, deconstructed, exploded and placed in tension with the “snowy mantle” of the material, they form the backbone of the quartet.
This work is dedicated to my friends in the Diotima Quartet.