Aperto 13 Takahashi Haruki: Landscaping
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
December 19, 2020 – May 9, 2021
What do people think as they walk around a garden? Whether lingering in solitude, or enjoying the surroundings while chatting with a friend or loved one, a garden is generally a place for a change of mood. TAKAHASHI Haruki (b. 1971) creates garden-like settings in museum spaces. A devotion to making installations with a landscape or nature theme brought TAKAHASHI to the idea of the “enrin” as a way of creating a personal, individual connection between viewer and work, rather than shouting loudly at wider society. Enrin (yuanling) is a general term for Chinese gardens, whose structure offers encounters with a series of different landscapes as the viewer strolls around. Each landscape has its own philosophical element, making the garden a condensed version of different scenes from human existence. As a person walks around, their own life is mirrored in their heart, connecting them with the cosmos.
The garden created in the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, will have water, mountain, light, and darkness. The numerous wild grasses are flora we live alongside. The translucent white porcelain is so fragile it may break on contact, but if handled carefully, will last forever in its current form. Landscapes both robust and fragile are sure to remind the viewer forcefully of the ephemeral nature of life, and the many memories that vanish, only to reappear.
Enrin gardens use nature as their material, yet are by no means natural. They are “works” that reflect complex ideas, and are designed with the viewer in mind. TAKAHASHI will consciously move away from a Western art history context to create in the gallery space a garden that reflects the individual spirituality of all those who see it-part of his attempt to explore a more eastern approach to the idea of the installation.
Combining centuries of Kanazawa craftsmanship with traditional materials to explore plastic expression in contemporary art
Based in his hometown of Kanazawa and employing the time-honored material of porcelain, plus techniques from Kutani and Izushi ware production, TAKAHASHI Haruki detaches from a traditional art-craft context to explore plastic expression as installation. Detailed renditions of flowers and vines molded in hard, translucent white porcelain feature vivid renderings of creatures in glaze, in works that give full expression to the inherent duality of robustness and fragility in all of nature.
A space configured in accordance with the eastern philosophy of the enrin
The term enrin refers to the time-honored style of Chinese landscape garden, the yuanling. TAKAHASHI’s configuration of the gallery space is profoundly influenced by the Eastern idea of the enrin embodying the birth and death of life in the natural world, and the state of the spirit. By becoming one with the work and strolling around the gallery-space-turned-garden, and superimposing imagined scenes of water, mountain, light and darkness, on landscapes in their own mind’s eye, viewers are invited to explore their personal visions and memories more deeply.
Landscaping-connecting landscapes of limited longevity that are etched on the land, only to fade
Participating in numerous art festivals including Art Setouchi and the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, TAKAHASHI has produced a series of works nurtured by the particular culture and natural features of each location, that merge with memories of landscapes etched on the land, only to weather away. The limited life of his landscapes constructed in the gallery space gives them an inherent beauty, much like the composition of nature with its repetition of birth and death. This exhibition will present the latest offering from an artist who, through a practice firmly rooted in local communities, continues to interrogate the state of plastic expression linking past, present and future.