For a series of SAKURA

FEBRUARY 28, 2022

I regard this series as a metaphysical exploration of "what an existence is" following the series of"Propositions"(2015-) and the series of blue abstract paintings  "Otherwise than being".

The inspiration came not from the traditional mountain cherry tree, which has appeared in songs and literature since ancient times, but from the "clonal" nature of the Someiyoshino, which was developed in the Edo period and exploded in popularity after the Meiji period. It is not the cherry tree as a single tree or a single life, but a group of trees as a phenomenon that constitutes space. Or a non-living sequence. I was attracted to a certain kind of irascibility of "cherry blossoms".

It is a way of being that is different from the "individual" that has spatial and temporal delimitations, even though it is life. The vague expanse of color, in which the individual seems to sink into, resembles the abyss that lurks behind existence, as if described by a French philosopher Blaise Pascal in his writing "Pensee",  or as I have explored in my own work to date.

“ I see those frightful spaces of the universe which surround me, and I find myself tied to one corner of this vast expanse, without knowing why I am put in this place rather than in another, nor why the short time which is given me to live is assigned to me at this point rather than at another of the whole eternity which was before me or which shall come after me. I see nothing but infinites on all sides, which surround me as an atom, and as a shadow which endures only for an instant and returns no more. All I know is that I must soon die, but what I know least is this very death which I cannot escape. ‘ 

-[Thoughts / Blaise Pascal ; translated by W.F. Trotter. Letters / translated by M.L. Booth. Minor works /translated by O.W. Wight ; with introductions and notes]. New York : P.F. Collier, c1910. The Harvard classics v.48.

What I would like to present though this series is an experience of time and space that shakes the boundaries of one's own existence, which is similar to Pascal's phraseology. Painting, for me, is also an exploration of how I can embody such an experience through materiality within colours. In other words, a painting is like an entrance, a cross-section, or a window into that space.

Often, when viewing cherry blossoms, I feel as if my own sense of existence and space-time is distorted.Perhaps we are aroused by cultural memories and feel a sense of dizziness. Or perhaps we experience a melting away of individual boundaries as the cherry tree in front of us rises not as a single tree, but as a group of clones. In any case, what cherry blossoms bring is a sense of pluralistic and non-living repetition and fusion, not the monotonous time of birth and death or the contours of individual existence.

Through my work, I try to create an experience of time and space created by cherry blossoms. I hope that the viewer will also surrender to the experience of time and space in which his or her own existence seems to sink in.