‘Let Go, Get Lo’
During our residency in Japan we felt very much out of control because of the language barrier and cultural differences. But it actually felt quite relaxing as we surrendered to it. We wanted to apply the loss of control in our artistic process and started with some experiments. This lead to a workshop/experiment that we gave during Kamigyo Open Week, involving local residents. They were instructed to draw portraits of each other while wearing the 'view divider’, a tool developed for this occasion to prevent the participants from looking at the paper. This way they had less control over their drawings and were placed in the surreal position of staring into the eyes of a stranger (most people didn’t know each other). After several sessions the participants shaped a teacup based upon a personal need of the person sitting opposite. Still wearing the 'view divider’, the shapes came forth from a more unconscious level and have a specific look because people couldn’t see what they were producing. Uncontrolled in its appearance, imperfections occur that is pleasant to the eye. In that sense it resonates with Japanese Raku bowls, with a wink. The big difference is that Raku is highly expensive and can only be made by descendants of a certain family, but the cups of this workshop/experiment are made by randomly collected people and made from cheap modern coloured materials in a short time with no training and blocked vision. What these cups have in common with Raku bowls is at the level of intention. The tea bowls of Hon'ami Kōetsu (early Raku master 1558 –1637) where spontaneously made and less restricted by rules. They came forth from the joy of creation and where not meant to be sold.
The results of this workshop we exhibited in ‘Anewal gallery’, Kyoto, Japan and in the Japanese cultural centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands.