Tony Trehy recently introduced me to the Artist Marsha McDonald. Marsha will be creating fictional work for a fictional art show, in a fictional art gallery in Tony's fictional world. Marsha once lived in Japan. She said something interesting to me - 'but part of me is in Japan'.
I was very drawn to Japan as an early teenager. The mystical elevation of discipline and technique in all fields. Even the making of a comb transcends into a spiritual practice. Zen made a lot of sense to me. Mainly because I began studying a Japanese form of karate at the age of 13. I still practice it now. The removal of intellectual conscious thought, surrendering to the flow of the ever changing circumstances of combat. I loved the idea that it was even possible to methodically train towards this lack of structure.
It was no surprise to me when I started studying architecture that the same esoteric forces were also alive in contemporary Japanese design. So I sort of know what Martha meant. But in a different way.
When I visited Japan in 2001 I felt like an alien. I spent a month riding the bullet train looking at contemporary and traditional architecture. I had some sublime experiences. My god - the Ryoan-ji stone garden blew my mind into a million pieces. And Ando's Church of the light - what is there to say? I also had a profound moment with Monet's waterlily's at Ando's Oyamazaki Museum in Kyoto. A project you can't possibly understand from photos (drawings maybe - if you know drawing).
I didn't penetrate Japanese culture at all. But I do resonate with their Art - Art in it's broadest sense encompassing all of existence. Across culture and race. As can be seen in Rothko's apparitions.