Wang Mengshi / Beijing, Tokyo
Li Qian / Taipei
Zhang Shijie / Taipei
Aoki / Taipei
Baptiste Tavernier / Paris, Tokyo
Masato Shigemori / Kanagawa
A year ago, these artists began participating in the "Soil Project". Each extracted soil from their hometown or nearby regions and, under the guidance of Wang Mengshi, a technician from the "Tokyo University of the Arts, Cultural Heritage Conservation, Sculpture Restoration and Conservation Research Laboratory," they began making handmade pigments for creating works concerned with the land and environmental nurturing.
"I think, therefore I am; I see, therefore I think." The mud we step on also forms the landscape in our minds, a link in our inner thoughts. One year later, it's time to submit our work.
Soil is an indispensable and important element for us. Humans have cultivated the ground, built structures on it, and shaped vessels, thereby constructing various civilizations unique to each region and country. Soil is intimately connected to our daily lives. It has been involved in various fields, from essential commodities to art, as an important material since ancient times.
The act of using soil as a pigment to paint pictures was already practiced in the late Paleolithic era. Among the existing examples are the wall paintings in the Altamira Cave in Spain, which are 18,000 years old. In China, Buddhist murals are painted in the Mogao Caves of Dunhuang (4th century). These pigments and techniques traveled through the Korean Peninsula and eventually reached Japan, where they can be seen in the wall paintings of the Kitora Tomb and Takamatsuzuka Tomb (late 7th century).
It is my belief that when artists search for and collect soil from their hometowns to use as pigments, it leads to new discoveries, not just in color, but also in their experiences and knowledge, the connections to natural cycles, and the customs and climate of the land. By focusing on soil, which is commonplace yet rarely highlighted, and through the experience of directly touching the soil, I hope to capture the natural environment and the culture of our hometowns from a new perspective, discovering various unknown individualities.
From a chaotic and polluted background, a Zen Garden emerges.
A rake quietly combs the gravel into lines and circles, and the mind slowly cleans out.
Brains face an enormous amount of pollution as tides of noxious informations assault them constantly, triggering a combined chronophage and neurophage mechanism.
The corruption runs deep.
The garden is still fragile but grows stronger as the cerebra probe its simple and pure lines.