– touring seven – and frolicked in the autumn mist

I didn’t realise that so much of the artwork around Matsudai was permanent, spanning from 2000 onwards. Just as well I wasn’t living close-ish to the area at the times that the three previous triennials were held or it would have all been old hat. As it was, every turn of the road, every little wander down a track held a surprise.

After my sojourn in the forest, leafing through the leaves of books under the leaves it was time to find out what Jackie Paper was up to. Sometimes it is lucky that the website cannot really give a representative photo of the artwork because then, if it is a really good one, it meets more than your expectations, such as the Matsudai Dragon Pagoda (2006).

matsudaidragonpagodadistance

This is a view from the top of the hill. You can see the form of the dragon a bit better from this perspective than up close. Climbing this hill heading towards the Matsudai castle offered great views of the Matsudai township, the surrounding rice fields and forests and bridges and rivers.

Up close. It’s quite amazing the way this is made. The artist is Takamasa Kuniyasu, and according to the website The theme of this work is the dragon,the water god who guards the terraced fields. The work conveys an overwhelming sense of volume and energy.

I’m not sure about the energy, but the volume was certainly there.

dragonmatsudaipagoda1

Front

dragonmatsudaipagoda2

Back

dragonmatsudaipagodatail3

Tail

dragonmatsudaipagodatailmatsudaibluesky

Blue sky

The ground was sodden near here, muddy and sticky where cars had driven in to see the sculpture, and due to a typhoon that we got the tail-end of on the Thursday of that week. So, I sat for a while, contemplated the dragon, continued to free up room on my disc and then I kept climbing. It is as well that I read a little bit of Katakana, because many of the signs obviously were from the past triennials, and in kana they said art – or アート. I had my trusty map to cross-reference too. One such sign indicated that I had to take a path to the right of the dragon, or just behind it, depending on your point of view.

This led past a camping ground, and I had to check it out just in case there were any installations lurking. There weren’t, but there were these toilets which look like rustic Swiss chalets.

toiletmatsudaihill

They weren’t in use, more modern toilets were just up the road from them. That one above is the ladies’ toilet, the gents was in another similar little cottage just behind it.

The barbeque area was indoors, and there was a hodge podge of chairs under an awning. Summer had past, I guess they were waiting for the winter snows. At the far end of the barbeques was a makeshift shrine. I like this mixture of religion and every day activity and outdoor worship, as well. The Japanese are not particularly religious in a zealous, pious sense, but they are practical. Well, we’re near the top of the mountain, let’s put up a shrine just in case there are any gods around that need appeasing. And, those gods probably carried a lot more weight once (before they attended Jenny Craig), even so, they haven’t completely gone away.

makeshiftshrinebbqcamping

makeshiftshrinecamping

Again, I’m impressed by the orderliness, the neatness, the lack of graffiti. I think there was a caretaker of the general area around (someone kept passing me in a wee truck), and so maybe it is just the tyranny of distance that means that so many similar grounds are in a state of disregard at home.

There were other people looking at the art, too. Not as many as in summer, but if you look at that first picture of the dragon, you can see a car. People were walking and driving and taking photos. It was a lovely day. Most rice had been harvested by the Wednesday of the week due to the imminent typhoon, but there was still a lot of work going on in the fields.

Up the hill just a bit more offered this view, around which were a number of works

view

My photos isn’t breathtaking, but the scenery was very pretty. The artworks I didn’t take photos of were Matsudai Small Tower, by Peripherique from France (2003), Toru, by Noriko Yanagisawa, 2003 Peace Gardenby Madan Lal from India (2000). They look much prettier on the website, and they weren’t going to make good photos. Plus, I think my battery was running down, as well as still having to delete files!

However, I did take a photo of this one, Trees, which was overlooking the rice fields and ponds. I think it takes a better photo than it looks in actually. The rice field, or something field, behind me was harvested. Something field, I think, as there was no debris. I sank a little bit in the soft earth. I hope I didn’t ruin a single seed of a farmer’s hard labour.

trees
Trees, by Menashe Kadishman (2000)

The palace decked out in gold and bricks and seeds and rice and chairs and shrines in honour of mother earth. The battery runs out at the dragonfly, so you only have about six to eight more pieces of art to go!

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One Comment on “– touring seven – and frolicked in the autumn mist”


  1. […] the heart beats oftly with nary a sound « – touring seven – and frolicked in the autumn mist […]


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