Japan – A Borrowed Scenery (2012)
2012, leporello, 46 p. of 27.7 x 21 cm, double-sided c-print on aquarel paper
Printing and graphic design advices: Hanna Wieslander and Sébastien Berthier
Japan – A Borrowed Scenery (2012) is a guide to Japan in advance. It explores my ideas and preconceptions of the country before my first visit there. The publication consists of reassembled, appropriated images and text material, found in different travelogues and guidebooks about Japan produced in the West. The title refers to the old garden concept shakkei (translated as ”borrowed scenery”), implying the extension of a (temple) garden through its view – for instance towards a distant mountain. This act of reaching out and enhancing – appropriating – what is most distant, and making it ”nature”; part of the garden or of ones own creation, ressembles the act of appropriation involved in art making (and this very book in particular). To know more about the piece, please download this essay written by Karl Steinick in July 2012 (Swedish).
The work has been conceived prior to a duo exhibition at the D & Department Project Sapporo, Japan, together with the Japanese artist Hiroko Tsuchimoto. Since 2011 we are working on a joint project in which we explore the properties and characteristics of the Swedish and Japanese culture. The project has been formulated around ideas and beliefs about, and between, the two cultures; of concepts and approaches to place and displacement, of traveling, tourism, exotification and cultural translations. In 2011, the project received funding from Helge Ax:son Johnson Foundation for a research trip (Sapporo-Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka) that takes place in July 2012, in connection to the exhibition. The exhibition has equally been funded by Iaspis – The Swedish Arts Grants Committee´s International Programme for Visual Artists.
For me, the occasion implies a long awaited opportunity to closely study and establish contacts with Japanese society and culture. After several extended stays abroad, my art practice has been more and more formulated around issues of national and cultural identity, of ideas about “the other” and of what happens in displacements and changes of contexts. As well as around what naming, and the describing of place, means. My aim for the stay and the exhibition is to continue my research and gathering of materials on these issues, focusing on Japan. As part of the exhibition, I will also show the film Paris – An Orbit Portrait (2011), dealing with the image of Paris and the relationship between the Swedish and French culture.