Izumi Kon "A certain gardener - a moment of plentitude"

Hara Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo)

poster for Izumi Kon "A certain gardener - a moment of plentitude"

This event has ended.

The Hara Museum is presenting a project by the artist Izumi Kon consisting of three parts: a garden (set within the Sculpture Garden), an installation of paintings (exhibited in the first-floor corridor)
and a gardener’s menu of sweets (served in the Café d’Art, on plates designed by Kon).

Izumi Kon was born in Tokyo in 1977. In her work, she extracts the surface layers of things that catch her eyes in magazines, such as designs, landscapes, and decorations. From these things, she has incorporated diverse motifs such as shoes, cosmetics, jewelry, chairs, sushi, sweets and vegetables in paintings that exude a fresh sensibility. She spontaneously selects images that she likes from daily life and paints them on thick, cotton-cloth panels with painstaking detail in a variety of media including acrylic paint, water colors, and sumi ink. She infuses her minutely detailed and sensitively textured images with a unique use of colors and space (the Japanese sense of "ma"). By freeing them from their intrinsic function, structure and purpose, she brings out the “decorative” quality of the things. At the same time, the thickness of the panels becomes the thickness of the objects, and so they attain a new existence that forces the viewer to alternate between two and three dimensions, and between fact and fiction. As an example, in a previous
installation, she installed both real furniture and paintings of furniture. She once wrapped a ribbon around a painting to transform it into an unopened gift. Kon grasps the relationships between space and artwork with a unique perspective and easily transcends the boundaries that separate them.

Kon states that she has been influenced by an expression “kowan ni shitagau” (follow requests), which she came across in Sakuteiki or "Records of Garden Making,” the first book on garden design to be
written in Japan, said to have been complied by Tachibana no Toshitsuna in the Heian period (794 -1185). The book exhorts the reader to “follow the request of the stone” and to “observe the request of the stone”
in the making of a garden; based on the premise that one should follow natural topography rather than artificial topography, a person who can sense such “requests” would be a person of culture and taste. Furthermore, one should feel the flow of nature with one’s own body and face the garden with a fresh mind that is liberated from experience and knowledge. The creator’s inherent expression and creativity will then be reflected in the process of creation. Such is the ideal state of being for Kon. By eliminating personal intent as much as possible and employing the senses in a subtle way, she attempts to capture the inherent charm of things. Her works thus exhibit a fresh charm that stands in stark contrast with the emphasis on conscious agenda prevalent in contemporary art today.

For this event, Kon attempts to create an original garden, together with an idealized gardener-both total products of her imagination, unbounded by conventions. Behind them is the phrase “follow requests” from the Sakuteiki. What then is the ideal gardener? According to Kon, this person is totally absorbed in the craft of gardening, is slender, tall and quiet, owns no cell phone or computer, and has a sweet tooth. He rarely rides in vehicles, takes long walks (enjoying finding something interesting along the way) and wears a stylish but not too trendy shirt. What will be the Hara Museum’s garden “request” of the artist and the gardener?

For the word “plenitude” (tabun in Japanese, meaning “perhaps” or “plenty”) in the phrase “a moment of plenitude,” Kon attributes such meanings as “not certain,” “with more than one answer,” or “a residual
space where one can play.” The word is ambiguous, yet contains layers of possibilities to which she has added the idea of “moment.” We hope the time and space created by Kon and the gardener will remain in a corner of your mind.



From 2007-08-10 To 2007-08-31


Izumi Kon



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