Installation composed of 200 elements and video based on these same elements, 2010-2011
I started this project in Kyoto during my stay at Villa Kujoyama from July to December 2010. It originates in a research I started several years ago but its development and final form were deeply influenced by my experience of the tradtional and contemporary Japanese architecture. That's why I named it "Niwa", using a Japanese word that approxiatively means "garden" but with a wider range of accepted meanings. "Niwa" can designate the stone gardens of Zen budhism as well as the urban aera designed by sculptor Isamu Noguchi.The work consists in an installation made of 200 small size objects I realised using different materials (wood, plastic, brick, cardboard...). These objects represent in a stylized way trees, houses, bridges, staircases... These different elements are not meant to constitute a static composition. Instead, they are, like some chess pieces, to be manipulated, associated with each other according to some ever-changing combinations. This game of composition can follow different rules, basing itself on a purely aesthetic approche or using the symbolic content of the different objects. In fact each piece, instead of representing a single object, is associated with a function, a basic principle that will redefine the field in which it will take its place. Some of the pieces denote the idea of a border (walls, fence.), others on the contrary introduce the idea of a link (bridges, staircases, duckboards.). By their mutual relations, these pieces generate yet another kind of tension. They create a series of contrapuntal oppositions within the surface of the "board", playing with the inside and the outside, the up and the down, the organic and the geometric, the sacred and the profane etc. In addition to this open work, I also realised a stop motion video based on the same elements. This work adds the possibility of some transformations in time. The video camera stays still but the "garden" that stretched before it transforms itself endlessly. At first that's a stone garden made of 15 stones distributed in 5 groups. Then some geometrical elements appear that later transform themselves, sometimes suddenly, sometimes imperceptibly, into houses, temples or staircases. A fence, separating the space in two equal parts, induces the independent evolution of these two separated areas. But then a hole or a bridge or a door makes these two parts linked again so that they start evaluating together again, mixing their respective characteristics. Everytime a piece is moved or added, the force fied is redifined with the result that the entire composition needs to adapt, to reconfigure itself in order to restaure its equilibrium, just like an organic system would do. The video shows one game played with the 200 elements of the installation. It develops a kind of narration where the only protagonists are the concrete elements of the set. But that's only one possible combination amongst infinity of other possibilities.
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