Kinza | Naoshima

Kinza is the former name of the abandoned house turned Art House Project on Naoshima Island where it now houses the artwork Being given by Japanese artist Rei NAITO. This was perhaps the standout work for me of the experiences I had on Naoshima. Visitors to the artwork must make a prior booking as the experience is scheduled, one person at a time. The Kinza building, like many of the Art Houses in the Benesse Art Sites, seems unassuming from the outside, a normal village house. Inside however, the space has been returned to the earth, the floor reconnecting with the soil beneath the house. The only light entering the space is from the under the outside walls and from the interior, it gives the whole structure a feeling of levitation. Within lies a large round ring, also raised from the ground. The whole space gradually reveals small details laid out in some form of geomantic logic. Small transparent spheres and rings, a staff rigidly perpendicular to the ground, tiny details whose presence is highlighted by the bleeding light outside, and only revealed through time, through contemplation. Above, between two of the wooden beams supporting the ceiling, a large glass cylinder floats — mystically like depictions of The Ascension. The space is at once meditative in solitude and wonder, and also with connection to the outside world through light and sound, the street noise bleeds in as does the light, in a subdued way that is part of the space, part of what is being given.

There are rarely moments with an artwork that remain with you, that remain connected, somehow unresolved yet mystical and reaffirming. Kinza has tunneled a place of nostalgia in my memory, its ambiguity and comfort make it an unforgettable moment.

Rei Naito"Being given", 2001 Art House Project "Kinza"

Rei Naito"Being given”, 2001 Art House Project “Kinza” 

Kabuki | Minami-za

Christmas day, I treat myself to experience 4 acts of kabuki theatre at the traditional theatre Minai-za in Kyoto.  The 4 acts totalling almost 5 hours are indeed an endurance towards the end of the final act, especially with absent Japanese language. Each act was taken from a different play, the results of which were slightly confusing, but the set design and costumes were a wonderful spectacle.

The wooden panels on the outside of the theatre pictured below show the names of each kabuki performer for the season. The signage is the result of a month long residency by a master calligrapher, made possible by the Myoudenji temple. This annual residency is a centuries old tradition and the calligraphic style, kantei-ryu, is only used for kabuki actor’s names. The tightly packed black with almost no white space, is meant to bring luck and a packed house for the event. I was told that the ink has sake added to it to produce glossiness and that the master was now in his seventies and had started his apprenticeship at the age of fifteen. The sense of history and tradition in Japan is a stark contrast to the youth of colonial Australia.


Minami-za theatre, Kyoto

Minami-za theatre, Kyoto


Bento lunch





Flea Market | Kitano Kenman-Gu Shrine

Christmas Day, first thing, I go to the shrine at Kitano Kenman-Gu where they have a monthly flea market. I get there just before 9am as the stallholders are still setting up. The Japanese seem to prefer later morning starts so I wandered around the buildings at the shrine. Many people were making a morning prayer before proceeding into the the bustle of the market on the outer edges of the shrine complex.

The markets, once they got going, were busy with old and new wares, and food vendor of all sorts, incense, kimono, sweets, spices and all things pickled.


Curator’s Talk: Dr. Stephanie Rosenthal|Kyoto Art Center

The Kyoto Art Center hosted a public lecture by Dr. Stephanie Rosenthal, Artistic Director of the 20th Biennale of Sydney. Dr. Rosenthal discussed her curatorial interests in ephemeral installation practices and her recent curatorial projects at Hayward Gallery, London. I look forward to see her influence on the next Biennale of Sydney as I was overwhelmed by the amount of video installation work at the previous biennale.

Higashiyama Artists Placement Service (HAPS) will invite Dr. Stephanie Rosenthal, Artistic Director of the 20th Biennale of Sydney, to Kyoto to talk about her curatorial practice.

Date / Term December 7, 2014 [Sun.] 16:30-18:30
Venue  Kyoto Art Center

via Curator’s Talk: Dr. Stephanie Rosenthal|Event Archive|Kyoto Art Center.

English | Japanese

Sachiko Kawakami “Lineament – Line and Creation, or Possibly Deconstruction”

A beautiful exhibition installed in the Japanese style Meirin room at the Kyoto Art Center by artist Sachiko Kawakami.  An installation using acrylic sheets to create a sense of depth to a network of pigment lines. In the side room, a table displays similar hand drawn work on paper. Kawakami san also included a light installation in the Salon room of the art center, where a series of grids were created outlining the tatami mats on the floor with glow-in-the-dark tape.

Date and time
[Salon] November 26 (water) -30 (Sunday)
[Japanese-style “Meirin”] November 26 (water) -12 May 7 (Sunday)
* both venue with the last day until 17:00
Venue  Kyoto Art Center hall, Japanese-style “Meirin”Artist Talk Sachiko Kawakami is exhibiting artists of this exhibition, will talk about the work and exhibitions.

Artists Talk
November 29 (Sat) 16:00
[venue] Japanese-style “Meirin”
[Moderator] Sato one decimal (Kyoto Seika University Lecturer)
[fee] Free (Pre-registration required)

via KAB Event – Sachiko Kawakami “Lineament – Line and Creation, or Possibly Deconstruction”.
English | JapaneseArtist’s website [Japanese]








Salon room

Salon room

Meirin Tea Ceremony | Kyoto Art Center

An adaptation of a Japanese Tea Ceremony held in the Tea Room at the Kyoto Art Center. Artist Zon Ito uses water gathered from the natural springs surrounding Kyoto. The water was presented to share by those attending the ceremony, each member taking turns to serve the others in their group. The Japanese have a talent for sitting for long periods on their haunches, a talent I sorely lacked, and felt noticeably foreign whilst shifting uncomfortably trying to remain composed during this delicate ritual. The sound of the boiling kettle was amplified subtly for the duration of the ceremony, acting as the soundtrack for the event. After the water had been consumed, we were all presented with a sweet made from local chestnuts. Both the water and chestnuts were laid out at the head of the room, under a tapestry of the circle below. Before entering the ceremony, guests waited in one of the old school rooms, presented with a projected animation inside a golden gourd and another video of running river water. I enjoyed the whole experience immensely and look forward to seeing more of Ito san’s work.

The theme is “WATER of Tea Ceremony” Zon Ito will serve you the water that he collects in Kyoto City.
Date / Term  November 22, 2014 [Sat.] 10:30/11:30/13:00/14:00
Venue  Kyoto Art Center Japanese style-room “Meirin”
Host  Zon Ito(artist)


Artist Zon Ito

Artist Zon Ito


Taro Yasuno “New Zombie Music – Dance of Death”

Taro Yasuno’s music project presents a concert by robots called zombies. Opening the door to zombie music through an ensemble of flute, clarinet, and sax. This performance piece by Yasuno san saw three wind instruments played via a series of computer controlled fingers and bladders regulating air flow to each instrument. The artist became conductor and enabler, as these bladders needed constant tuning by slight manual adjustments of the pressure. This became an engaging spectacle as Yasuno san became intrinsically linked to the machinery of the performance, his own gestures becoming analog feedback loop between ear, hand and bladder.

Date and time
November 9, 2014 (Sun)
18:00 Doors open 19:00
(with history exhibition of zombie music from 18:00)
Venue  Kyoto Art Center Auditorium

Flute zombie
Clarinet zombie
Sax zombie

Anno Taro

Japanese | Artist’s website [Japanese] | Sound samples

Terminal Moment | Motohiko ODANI

Japanese artist Motohiko ODANI will be exhibiting his solo exhibition Terminal Moment at the Kyoto Art Center duirng the period of my residency. Very excited to be seeing his work first hand.

小谷元彦『Terminal Moment』/展覧会ブックレット予約受付中
Motohiko ODANI Solo Exhibition “Terminal Moment”
November 11, 2014 [tue.] – December 14, 2014 [sun.]
Kyoto Art Center Gallery South & North

Japanese | English

UPDATE: Here is a wonderful review of the exhibition in english

Terminal Documents (ver2.0) 2011 サウンド:高嶋 啓 撮影:表 恒匡

Terminal Documents (ver2.0) 2011 サウンド:高嶋 啓 撮影:表 恒匡


Terminal Impact (featuring Mari Katayama"tools") 2014 サウンド:西原 尚 撮影:表 恒匡

Terminal Impact (featuring Mari Katayama”tools”) 2014 サウンド:西原 尚 撮影:表 恒匡

Pool | Kyoto Art Center

A theatre performance at the Kyoto Art Center. The performance is set around a ‘pool’ and follows a young daughter dealing with her father’s new relationship after her mother is gone.

Date and time
November 27, 2014 (Thursday) – November 30, 2014 (Sun)
November 27 (Thursday) 19:30
the 28th (Fri) 19: 30 ★
29 (Saturday) 14: 30 ★ / 19: 30
30th (Sun) 13: 00/16: 30
★: Held after talk

Venue  Kyoto Art Center free space

via Dusk, Inc. weak man unit “pool” | Events Archive | Kyoto Art Center.