The personality of Yasuo Sumi

It was Shozo Shimamoto, another member of the group Gutai, who introduced Yasuo Sumi to me on the occasion of a domestic exhibition by the AU group, in 2003 (in Hyogo, Japan).
Sumi was sitting near the entrance of the exhibition room. I soon realized his hearing was not good, and my Japanese level was average at the time, making the situation far from ideal for a dialogue. However, there were actually no problems. He was always smiling, sometimes he laughed, and he showed me several pamphlets featuring his works.
This was the beginning of a story that winds up with me as his artistic coordinator.
Our correspondence is composed mainly of letters and faxes, and in every contact from the master Sumi, the message ends with a wish of health and happiness, thanks and good wishes to Raffaella Borghi and Luigi Tenti for their collaboration, and thanks to the other coworkers.
I remember when I told him that my wife was pregnant for the first time. From that day on for five months, Sumi’s letters and faxes related to the future art events and exhibitions, ended with these words:“I wish happiness to your family, a safe and easy delivery to your wife, and the health of her and the baby”.
They are simple words, but since they were unceasingly written in every letter along with the thanks to all the other people, they touched me so much they have become the main reason I feel moved when looking at his works of art.
When I look at the countless strokes made with the vibrator and at the parallel lines drawn with the abacus, present in almost all of his works, I see in each of them the natural power of Yasuo Sumi who shares with us his artistic positivity, kindness and energy that overflow the banks of his 84 years.
Andrea Mardegan