As it is in heaven

Diary 2008.10.9



Often I find a motive for my site specific artwork in picking up threads from an old/local tradition. But as I came to Kamiyama I found the ancient tradition of walking the pilgrim route around Shikoku to be alive and kicking. Amazed and touched I see them passing by every day, these pilgrims in Kamiyama. They are of all ages and of all walks of life, starting the route out of religious feelings as well as for pure pleasure. But the amount of people doing it gives it a very special charisma, that enchants me. And I share the experience of the local inhabitants to be incorporated in their path by giving them food for the road, and just by the sheer fact of being here. This experience is the background for my first, almost finished, project in the Kamiyama art residency, the cup near the cinnamon tree on Ohayama mountain, titled As it is in heaven.


The traditional form of the cup, furnished with a ‘craquele’ of green Kamiyama stone, is an expression of the little pieces of wisdom we collect throughout our lives. The cup where we gather the pieces of heaven that we hope and maybe search for but, always find and receive unexpectedly. I see this being reflected in the Shikoku pilgrimage, every pilgrim carrying their own hope, search, thoughts. And although I walked barely a few meters of the route myself, I do feel inspired by the text being recited at the temples, that I decode as a call not to take life and things around us for granted, but to go further, not let yourself being deducted by trivialities. To find the open space in yourself where life originates. Maybe on the deepest level this is also the place where art comes from.
But of course the pilgrims also hope for a more practical piece of heaven, as the artist hopes to be able to present an interesting work by the time of the opening!


Originally I had thought to execute As it is in heaven in natural materials only, but as we talked it over with Mori-san he convinced me of its vulnerability to heavy typhoon rains, being placed as planned on the slope of the mountain. I agreed we had to use concrete, which would turn the temporary artwork into something that was typhoon resistant. In my own country I have great difficulty of making artworks in nature permanent with the help of concrete. There is so little nature (if any) left in our little frog country. So I did have some second thoughts about the use of concrete on this beautiful Kamiyama mountain.
I tried to ask the mountain for his opinion and permission, but I am afraid of being too down to earth and anthropocentric to trust the answer. I found more appeasement in the fact that throughout the ‘wild’ nature of Shikoku there are hundreds if not thousands signs of human presence. Even on far out places you find stones with inscriptions, Buddha sculptures and tiny temples. They are sometimes very old human tributes to honor a deceased or holy person, the gods, the mountains, or nature itself. And in this line I find my ‘cup’ as a more permanent work to be at the right place: as a tribute to the place and the route of the pilgrims on Shikoku. I hope Ohayama mountain accepts my tribute!



KAIR2008 Artist

Articles by Karin


  • Beyond any doubt the holy mountain will welcome your tribute....Shinya

    10/09/2008 9:42 PM | 大南 信也

  • What a thoughtful, beautiful posting! It resonates with me very deeply. The picture of the "cup" in the making, with you and Mori-san inside is beautiful and I can't wait to see the finished work. I imagine people lying in its gently sloping space like in a palm, looking at the stars, listening to the crickets and cicadas.

    10/09/2008 9:46 PM | Andrea

  • Holy cow! What a beautiful space where you put your gentle but concrete artwork. Your newest creation can stand the time to become a special place for future pilgrims. Hope to see it too one day.

    10/09/2008 12:10 AM | Renee

  • Hello, I am intrigued to happen upon your site! I am an artist,currently in Scotland,have spent some months in Japan--years ago--and look forward to going there again,and to do my own work,simply.I draw and paint,in watercolour and acrylics.I also work doing murals and architectural illustrations.Mostly,I would just like to spend some months in Japan doing my own paintings--(perhaps selling some to avoid running out of money!) But any suggestions or advice you may feel like sending to me would be most welcome! Anything about the place and people there would interest me. I can't remember much Japanese but look forward to learning more again! Thank You, Best Regards,.............angus White.

    10/09/2008 8:51 AM | angus white

  • Hi Angus, Thanks for dropping by! You can always contact us via our contact form: if you have any specific questions. There is a lot of information on the site already so take a look around - the Bed & Studio section may be of particular interest to you. Claire

    10/09/2008 9:35 AM | Claire

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