Fan, Wax, iron stool.
I am excited to discover the 2021 open call for Kyoto Art Center’s Artist-in-Residence. For years I have longed to have an extended stay in Kyoto. I am drawn specifically to Kyoto’s temples and to the snow.
Kyoto’s temples are nothing like the temples in Taiwan. They are a new and foreign environment to me. Wherever I travel in the world, I am drawn to temples and churches. I like to spend time in different sacred spaces, slowly developing a feel for their atmospheres and their different cultural expressions of worship. These spaces offer a world apart from my daily life and take me away from my habitual ways of being.
I have had one opportunity to spend some time in Ryoanji Temple. It was surprising, a completely different experience from being in Taiwan’s temples. Taiwan’s temples are bursting with color and sound. They are busy places full of people offering incense, asking the gods for help, burning spirit money, and praying for better fortune. Ryoanji Temple, in its quietude, is nothing like that. It is unlike anything else I have seen. Ryoanji Temple is a built environment where no detail has escaped the hands of people. Yet, it emanates a timelessness and sense of peace that feels entirely natural. After my one brief encounter, I want to have a longer period of time to steep myself in the atmosphere of Ryoanji Temple and likewise to slowly get to know some of the other temples in Kyoto.
My other attraction to Kyoto is equally rooted in quietude, the silence of snow. Growing up in tropical and subtropical Taiwan, I did not see snow until I was 40 years old. In Taiwan, snow in the mountains is so rare that it makes headline news. People will risk driving on slippery mountain roads, stuck in traffic for long hours, just to see tiny snow flakes melting in their hands. I strongly desire to spend an extended period of time in a snow-covered environment, experiencing both the romance and inconvenience of snow, as well as its quietude and tranquility.
My intention is to create artwork inspired by the atmosphere and artistry of the temples and the quiet of a world enveloped by snow. The starkness of Ryoanji Temple and the monochrome white of snow cover invite a subtractive method of creation, a cutting away of excess until only the essential work remains. Through subtractive methods I intend to create works that convey a sense of timelessness and peace.