KyotoMachiya AIR

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October 2015

Today is tuesday. These are my very first hours alone in the machiya after arriving last friday to Kyoto.

The machiya is a medium size construction of panels, screens and mosquitos. ‘My’ room will be this very authentic little back room in which i will live, work and eat for the next coming months.

The sliding screens give a whole new perspective on inside, outside, you and we. It is a new situation especially because there will be quit a number of people around here over the course of the coming weeks.

Japan is a very different country. And I am not so much referring to the people, weather, looks or so, but merely referring to size and design that make you take another posture. In this machiya you live off the flour: you sit, read, study, meet, sleep on the floor. And in one way or another this different posture seems to provoke a different mental and or emotional attitude. I am curious what will unveil themselves..

All of a sudden the owner/ founder of this place is there, just next to me. We have not met yet so we sit down and talk. His english is absolutely basic and slowly and carefully we glide into a conversation.

Suddenly he is very clear and focussed when he says: 

‘You are here in Kyoto during the change of seasons. Everything will be different: temperature, licht, colours, scents. I wish and recommend you sit down at this garden and see the changes. You will see the Japanese soul.’

It is a wonderful gift, this wish and I knod.

Then I look at this beautifully framed garden and see a rather plain, gloomy, dark stretch of greens and stones. So I sit.

September 2105

Soon I will be travelling to Japan.

I have been selected to participate in an Artist in Residency Programm in Kyoto.

For years I have been fascinated by Japanese art.

There are multiple Aspects that intrigue me , trigger me, but with my own cultural backround dont understand automatically.

My experience in this world, this society, reminded me vaguely that many of aspects in life are not at all appreciated, valued, or mentioned as if they dont exist: the non-powerful, non-spectacular, non monumental, non exciting, non perpect, non permanent aspects. In Japanese culture you find MA, Mono no Aware and wabi Sabi are higley valued. Aspects I can only start to subscribe using too many words.

I want to explore these aspects.

So I will be traveling to Japan

The land of Attention and Aspects that make us westerns feel uneasy.

I will be living in a Machiya. one of those traditional houses build with joinery and paper. In summer steaming hot and in winter bitter cold . As I am told.

One of the first things I will do, is travelling to Yokota and pay respect to the tempel and tempelgate and thank them for letting go of the beautifull tempelguards we find nowadays in Het Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

I always feel a little sad watching them deprived of their duty in life: guarding and bringing people knowlegde. In Japan I will go and visit the tempel and tempelgate. Tell them how happy we are being able to see and experience the two tempelguards in Amsterdam. Tell them they are doing fine and bring them big thank you and put statue in return.

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