EXPLORATION17 @ FLINDERS LANE GALLERY

I have three new works appearing in EXPLORATION17 at Flinders Lane Gallery. So grateful to the stellar team at the gallery and all the talented artists I am lucky enough to be exhibiting with in the upcoming exhibition.
Exhibition dates 23 May to 17 June with some opening festivities this Saturday 27 May 1~3pm

Details of the works from left to right:

TITLE YEAR MEDIUM DIMENSIONS (HxW)
Rollick 2017 pen on painted mountboard on dibond (Ed 3 + AP) 1100 x  1100 mm
Romp 2017 pen on painted mountboard on dibond (Ed 3 + AP) 1100 x  1100 mm
Vagary  2017 pen on painted mountboard on dibond (Ed 3 + AP) 2050 x 1600 mm

Quiet Objects and Loud History | Nagasaki & Hiroshima

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The bones of a hand in glass
Found near the hypocenter. The bones of a human hand are stuck to a clump of glass that melted as a result of exposure to the extreme heat | Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.

There are impossible things to say. The object above, along with this matter of fact description, stood quietly, alone in an unassuming cabinet in the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. I watched as people easily missed it and looked at more confronting images of burnt bodies and of the devastated clearing that Nagasaki had become. In its understated horror, this object for me, spoke so much more.

It is difficult to understand those days in which the bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. I went to these two cities with little expectation that I would come away with my own understanding of those events. Over the last week I visited the Peace Memorials, Museums, parks and halls of both those cities, waiting to see how the Japanese had reconciled that history.

The museums present information about the seconds after the atomic explosions, information documented by both the Americans and the Japanese who were keen to understand the effects of this new type of bomb. Studies continue today into the effects of the explosions and the exposure of radiation. Survivors are still presenting to doctors with glass shards working their way out of their bodies. The sheer physics of the event is only understood through the objects presented and the personal stories of the survivors, both devastating.

The results are that both cities are now committed to peace and the abolition of all nuclear weapons.

 

 

Air Samples | Consecrated Spaces

Part of my research in Japan has been to capture and map space, namely conceptualising air. Air as a material but also as a metaphor for something immaterial; energy or spirit. Japanese Shinto conceptualises many forms of the ‘unseen’ through Kami (神). I read Kami as an energetic and immaterial force and it seems broad enough to incorporate ancestor worship, nature spirits, animism and even aspects of Buddhism. Ritual processes often materialise concepts of the invisible by connecting them to our bodies and senses.

An Evening of Noh and Kyogen | The Japan Foundation

Another treat. This performance, put on by the Japan Foundation in Kyoto, was of Noh and Kyogen theatre. Normally accompanying each other in what I have been told can be marathon performances. This particular performance was a modest 1 1/2 hours. Specifically aimed at non-Japanese speakers, the performance is accompanied by a full english translation in the theatre notes. The sounds of the Noh musicians and accompanists is certainly like a sound I have never heard. And the Kyogen is almost slapstick in its amplification of some Japanese protocols and hierarchies.

The Japan Foundation Kyoto Office will organize “An Evening of Noh and Kyogen” to provide foreigners such as students and researchers from around the world with an opportunity to experience Japanese traditional culture.

via The Japan Foundation – An Evening of Noh and Kyogen.

 

Noh: KOKAJI

Synopsis:

Following a dream which the retired Emperor Ichijo has had, an envoy is sent to the swordsmith Kokaji Munechika to order him to make a blade for the Emperor. As Munechika has no skilled assistant to help him in this, he goes to his shrine and prays there to the god Inari. A child then comes to him and gives an account of famous swords in China and Japan. Though refusing to tell Munechika who he is, he promises him all the help he needs to make a sword worthy of the Emperor, and then vanishes from sight. The swordsmith then prepares for the ceremonial forging of the blade, and after he has offered up prayers, the god Inari himself descends and helps him in the work. The sword thus miraculously made is presented to the envoy and the god returns to his shrine.

<From A GUIDE TO NŌ 5th ed. by P. G. O’neill, Hinoki Shoten,1954>

 

Kyogen: BUNZO (The Tricky Memory Trick)

Synopsis:

Taro Kaja took off work for a few days without his Master’s permission and went to the capital. …… When the Master hears where Taro Kaja has been and that while there he visited the Master’s uncle, he says he will forgive Taro Kaja if he tells him about the trip and especially about what the uncle gave him to eat, since the uncle is famous for serving very delicious and unusual foods. Taro Kaja says he did indeed eat something that was very unusual and very delicious, but he can’t recall what it was called. …… The Master names all the foods he can think of …… , but nothing rings any bells with Taro Kaja.

Taro Kaja always has a hard time remembering things, so the Master had instructed him to use the memory trick of relating things. Taro Kaja says that he remembers that the name of the food is in the chanted narrative (katari) the Master likes to recite about the battle at Ishibashi Mountain. The Master agrees to recite it ……. Taro Kaja finally stops him …… when he hears the word Bunzo, the name of a warrior. The Master …… suddenly realizes that Taro Kaja has even used a mistaken memory trick. The Master asks him if it was unzo gayu (a lukewarm tasteless soup eaten by Zen priests for breakfast) and Taro Kaja exclaims, Yes, that’s it.”The Master scolds him for putting him to so much trouble to recall something so disagreeable.

<From A GUIDE TO KYOGEN  by Don Kenny, Hinoki Shoten, 1968>

Golden air: video studies of air and space

The first few weeks of my residency have seen me absurdly tossing space blankets around the studio capturing video. The idea of capturing some memory of the air in time and space often puts my body in relation to these spectral golden forms.