BEAUTY AND SADNESS.
I will talk to you about BEAUTY AND SADNESS.
*’Beauty and Sadness’ is a book written by the Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata, who was the first Japanese author to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968. The following text is based on excerpts from his book, and was written for a collaborative one-evening exhibition held in my studio this fall together with artist Alicja Nowicz. For me my work and my studio came alive as a character merging with the characters and the spaces appearing in the book, like the stone garden. In the oldest known book about Japanese gardening, The Sakuteiki, a stone garden is described as a ‘dry landscape’, saying “In a place where there is neither a lake or a stream, one can put in place what is called a dry landscape…” Reflected upon by Michel Baridon; “Nature, if you made it expressive by reducing it to its abstract forms, could transmit the most profound thoughts by its simple presence”. The studio and the stone garden became one. The explorer and the contemplative shook hands, and the traveller and the one staying behind lay side by side on Alicja’s mattress that she had put on the floor. They lay there staring at the ceiling, listening to the hollow sounds coming from the long, slim, concrete corridor. And together with Nowicz and her participating friend Beati simulacra spun into existence like Baudillard and Deleuze stirring in the same pot. “Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person.” ‘Beauty and Sadness’, Yasunari Kawabata.
I will talk to you about BEAUTY AND SADNESS.
Today is Saturday, November 14th, 2015. It is the 318th day of the year. It’s a dark day. It’s evening. It makes me melancholig and nostalgic.
This is my study. I came here not so long ago. I work here everyday. I got this place so I could be alone, to focus, to think. And to search for something I had, you know…once upon a time… but yeah, lost.
I have a desk and a chair, but most of the time I just sit on the bed by the low table. Then I can also work on the floor. I like that.
I go on walks on the corridor, and takes short naps on the couch in the big space by the elevator. Although I have a sensation of that fatigue sometimes stimulates my imagination, so then I try to avoid napping too much.
Tuesday, February 3rd The first day
“She pressed her lips and teeth to the back of her hand. She became more daring and held the bait higher and higher. She did not even notice that it was beginning to rain.“
Earlier this evening I remembered the first time I saw a stone garden. We went there together. It felt dark and deceitful. Like a long, hollow, dimly lit corridor, where my steps echoed ahead, telling everyone I was coming. The same feeling I have when I walk through the corridor outside my study. The one you came from.
Monday, March 16th 41 days.
“She had long, black hair. She sat up in bed, and then got up and went to the dressing table to brush her tangled hair. The stones looked as if they had always been there, however their stiff angular forms left no doubt that it was a human composition.“
I like that. Composition. Hair cannot grow from stone, so I glued it on.
I saved many things from her. I thought they would give me answers, but I am not even sure what they are anymore. Like when the hairs came out in the cream as it was being wiped off. It makes my flesh crawl.
Sunday, April 5th 61 days.
“She was afraid the teeth marks were visible. Standing before the mirror in the studio wall she touched up her makeup with cosmetics from her handbag and then combed her hair with a little silver comb. Last – time and the river won’t flow backward.”
I could watch the stone garden for hours. After returning here I started to collect stones, like the one with the teeth, I saw it as a sign, so I got it. I was told that no one wanted to buy it. I have had it with me ever since that day.
Sunday, May 10th. 96 Days
“When a spasm gripped her and she bit his shoulder she would not even realize that was blood flowing. Disturbed by the implications of that ’first time’. She wanted to paint a kind of spirit child, a child who had never entered the world of human beings.”
I often wish I were a stone myself. My life moves with things from the past. Different objects that embody different memories, collected and carefully put together. I place them, take them apart, hide them and hold them. Hard. Once I thought memories could be resurrected. I have been here for 188 days. It was the last time that we saw the stone garden.
It is Saturday, November 14th, 2015. 188 days has past. It is the 318th day of the year.