Daisuke Hayata “Golden Sheep”

Kobo Chika

poster for Daisuke Hayata “Golden Sheep”

This event has ended.

In 2009, Daisuke Hayata was on a train heading from Paris to London. After crossing the Straits of Dover, the English landscape came into view. The evening fog drifted over the coast like a ghost. Towering above the sea were cliffs, deserted apart from a lonely row of trees. Hayata spotted a few small dots amid the misty green. Straining his eyes as he tried to make out what they were, he realized that they were sheep. It was the first time in his life that he’d seen sheep. Although it was just a momentary experience on a train, he was captivated by the beautiful sight of these sheep shrouded in mist.

The Japanese kanji character for “beauty” – a concept so integral to art – is said to be derived from the kanji character for “sheep.” Both in the East and the West, sheep have played a central role in people’s lives since antiquity, providing not only food and clothing but also sacrificial offerings for the gods. Imagining that this importance is connected to the abstract concept of beauty, perhaps the view in the UK could be described as “the origin of beauty.”

It was only after the nation began to modernize after the Meiji Restoration in the late 19th century that sheep became sustainable in Japan. Although there had been attempts to breed sheep before then, Japan’s temperate humid climate did not suit these cold-loving creatures. The 8th-century Shoso-in treasure house contains a folding screen panel with a design of a sheep under a tree (Hitsujiki Rokechi no Byobu), which was painted in the Tenpyo era (710–794). It is thought to replicate a style of painting that came to Japan from Persia but looks as though a Japanese person who had never seen a sheep depicted the hazy image that they had in their own mind. The painting overlapped in Hayata’s own mind with his memories of the sheep that he saw shrouded in mist in the UK. More than 1,260 years have passed since this picture was painted and Hayata felt a duty to recreate the sheep before it completely deteriorated and disappeared.



from July 07, 2018 to July 28, 2018 at 18:00

Opening Reception on 2018-07-07 from 18:00 to 21:00


Daisuke Hayata



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