- Yanagi Miwa
- Odani Motohiko
- Yoo Seungho
- Nawa Kohei
The enchanted land known in Japanese as Senkyo, where immortal hermits dwell amid an otherworldly landscape resembling a Chinese shanshui ink painting, is one of the many Edens of legend, a place close in concept to Shangri-la, the Buddhist paradise of Gokuraku, the Pure Land, and Utopia. Since the pandemic began, many have revisited the notion of leaving the city and living in more natural surroundings, a desire perhaps partly driven by longing for such an arcadia. This exhibition introduces works by four artists that invite us into this fairyland of the hermits.
The landscape by Yoo Seungho is an expression of Chinese Taoist thought, but on close inspection is made up of clusters of the tiny characters “da da,” repeated. This word like a signature/tag or onomatopoeic expression also has a graffiti-like quality, the repeated rendering of the same character also resembling calligraphy practice, or aesthetic training of some sort. In PixCell-Kannon #7 meanwhile, Nawa Kohei collected the Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) via internet, and covers it with transparent spheres to represent the texture of images split into pixels on a screen. As a Buddhist object of worship that doubles as a consumer good, Nawa’s Kannon also serves to connect the Pure Land with this earthly realm. In Odani Motohiko’s Hollow: What rushes through every mind, a unicorn, symbol of strength and purity, and a young girl defy earthbound gravity to float in the manner of spirits, while Yanagi Miwa’s The Three Fates juxtaposes two contrasting photos featuring young and elderly fairies. It is uncertain whether the dewy young trio have grown old, or their crone-like elders have regained their youthful glow. In the paradise inhabited by ageless, immortal hermits, it is believed possible to live unfettered by earthly natural laws, including that of inevitable aging and deterioration over time.
A visit to see these works by four very different artists offers the chance to imagine for a moment freer worlds unchained from the realities of this one.