How can one create a work inspired by a city where one has never set foot? Moreover, a place on the other side of the world, whose history and cultural richness are of such dizzying density? I quickly realized that my work could only be imagined, dreamed, imbued with my Western culture, tinged with my distant prejudices. I worked with a visual approach above all, around a few chosen colors, representative tree species, and some clichéd symbols: for example, the composition is organized around 3 abstract shapes, including the circle, directly inspired by the rising sun on the flag, the rectangular shape of a kakemono, or a cityscape.
My distant feeling, entirely subjective, towards the city of Tokyo and the few images that came to me, was that of a place where tradition and modernity, nature and urbanism were intimately mixed. Not in opposition, but in an indissoluble tangle, a form of organic fusion despite some contradictions. But also, the place of dramas that history reports to us, such as the earthquake that this year marks the centenary of. Coming to Tokyo was an old, somewhat intimidating dream for me. I have been here for a few days now, confronting my artistic proposal with the reality of this enigmatic city. I have taken only a few timid steps, cautiously trying to understand snippets of its functioning. Suddenly time stops, because I have perceived the whisper of a tree. I know nothing of the language, but I understand its language.
"Kumono Shingou" means "Cloud Signals" it is the title of a poem by the Japanese author Kenji Miyazawa, who was an agronomist dedicated to the social cause, at a time when successive natural disasters struck the country while modernity transformed it at a dizzying pace. It is with a sense of grace that I receive this gift of a title for my work, which was given to me by Kazumasa Teshigawara (Qubibi). It is a small door that has opened for me on an element of Japanese culture. This is what Qubibi does: he creates small doors and opens them slightly to allow us to glimpse, with kindness and simplicity, but also in enigmas, a little light and soul, a fleeting spark, a reflection of what, hidden, is the very treasure of humanity.
One cannot absorb a culture, only experience it. Some encounters can connect you to it, much like synapses in your brain connect pieces of information and influence the construction of your being. Certainly, one does not come to Japan to find answers, but rather to encounter questions. And here I am, in the middle of the night, gazing up at the sky, wondering: what do the clouds want to warn us about? Suddenly, I am enriched by my ponderings. Who am I, here ? A mere dot on this Earth, a human somewhere on the road, from the cradle of Nature en route to our technological and dematerialized utopias.