This is a short film produced on the occasion of my exhibition (four)est: an art collaboration with Nature at be-kyoto gallery in Kyoto, Japan April 13 - 21, 2022. This exhibition was selected by Kyotographie to be included in their satellite event KG+.
This film was included in the (four)est exhibition at be-kyoto gallery in Kyoto April 13 - 21, 2022. It is a condensed compilation of the 16 short films documenting the project that were shot over four years (2018 - 2022).
I picked up the paintings April, 4th 2022. A beautiful day. Cool, but not cold. Sakura just beginning to bloom, wildflowers color the road.
The paintings seemed to know it was time to go. Miyama (no. 1) let go of the tree it was clinging to for four years. On its back looking up. Kuta (no. 3) also let go. I found it face down in the cedar debris some 5 meters from the tree. The last 12 months barely hanging on. Time to go, time to go.
And yet…it wasn’t. The paintings belonged to the forests. They stopped being mine some time ago – 2021? 2020? Was I stealing? When you remove anything from a forest you upset the balance ever so slightly.
The paintings had become living things during their time in the forest. Moss, mold, insects had made the paintings their home. Removing them from the forest the paintings return to their state as static art objects.
The paintings are light, unexpectedly so. They look heavy in the forest, they have weight. I don’t know why. The lack of proper sunlight? The dampness? The layers of forest matter that attached itself to the paintings?
The people who live near the paintings, the would-be caretakers used the word 淋しい (lonely) to describe their feelings about the project ending. They’d grown accustom to the paintings in the forest. They’d grown accustom to my seasonal visits. I was touched by this.
I’ve never spent so much time with a painting. I finish a painting and it is added to the nearest stack in my studio. I see it, just as you see the walls, floor and ceiling of a room, but I don’t look at it or consider it again. Eventually it is buried beneath other paintings. These four paintings I looked at over and over. I took hundreds of photos, I made films, I wrote about them. I feel attached to the forest where they lived.
In another four years there will be no trace of the paintings. The forest will have forgotten. The forest is not sentimental. It continues.
The project has ended. We grow attached to things and when they are finished it’s always a little sad. I think I need time to digest this.
Of course the paintings changed over four years. But I think I maybe did too.
This is Part 16 in the series of short films documenting the (four)est art project in the mountains of northern Kyoto (Japan). This is the final installment.
notes and impressions
part 16 (January 27 & 28, 2022)
I realized as we twisted our way out of the mountains that I'm going to miss this. The seasonal visits, getting out of the city, into nature. Really observing nature. The forces that have completely transformed my artwork. So too the changing landscape - the movement of earth and stones and streams, the growth of some trees, the falling of others. The same location, but different every time. That energy. All this...I'm going to miss.
亀岡 | Kameoka
The forest is wet. A deep wet. It smells of earth. Snapped tree branches - bending, bending, then succumbing to the heavy snow earlier in the week.
The painting has been reduced in size. Another boar attack. Their heavy-handed contribution to the project. Anyone but me would take this for garbage. Art? Ha!
美山 | Miyama
The dull gray-brown mountains. Patches of snow grow into great blankets as we gain altitude.
The painting has disappeared. Buried in snow, just a corner peaks through. The snow is up to my knees in places. Slow, thoughtful, but clumsy steps. The painting is a marker; without it I don't know where to go, where to point my camera. It's like being in the wrong forest.
京北 | Keihoku
The snow is not as deep as Miyama. The path up the hill is always a little precarious. Covered in snow it is borderline dangerous.
The painting seems to have become one with the rock. Difficult to see where one begins and the other ends. A deep, dark hue. The snow has begun to retreat from the surface. I imagine a few days ago this painting was also lost.
久多 | Kuta
Gray-scale landscape. Quiet, but for the river in the distance. Snowdrifts up to my knees. A misstep puts me in a hidden stream, icy water fills my boot.
Somehow this painting is hanging on. The will to survive. Stubborness. The tree wears an attractive collar of snow which blends right into the painting. Like the other paintings, this piece seems to have been consumed by its surroundings. A strange appendage to the ancient tree.
1. n’importe où
3. make it to the end
4. radio static
5. all or nothing
6. bending to the light
7. like tracking hurricanes on Mars
8. some kind of 2-minute heaven
9. the same music - over and over and over
10. There was a time
11. the Japanese import
12. things break
13. a hole punched in the storm
15. It's taking forever
17. No one would understand
19. beyond now
20a. Holy crap!
20b. that feeling
21. then unknown
23. rearranging skeletons
24. another curveball
25. '21. 19 or 20?
26. Feels like something's ending
28. growing in the cracks
29. wood burning
30. 35.0116°N, 135.7681°E
31. you're you're
32. dream sequence