(Close your hands; Open your hands)

After the earthquake disaster, I became at a loss what to think about “creation of art work”. Radioactive leakage was reported but it was invisible and smelled nothing. It could not be recognized by the five senses of human being. Is tap water safe to drink Can we take deep breaths Are those vegetables we grow in our gardens edible We didn’t know whether every action we used to do without thinking is right or wrong. Under those circumstances, “creating art work” was pie in the sky and even thinking of it seemed to me an irresponsible and immoral act. Seven years had past without any answers when I received an invitation to hold an exhibit from Poland, the host country of the Triennale of fiber art. The Triennale was regarded as the gateway to success in that art field which I once struggled to pursue. I had then no concreted idea of work because I was away from creative activity for so long, but I was alarmed that I would never be able to create anything for the rest of my life unless I started again at that time. So, I deliberated on what should I do as an artist and tackled paper again in earnest to make a fresh start. Touch the paper in front of me; Hold it; Release it and put it on a table; And then look at the material again. These simple acts require very complicated movement of the fingers, palm, back of the hand and arm. I feel energy moving quietly when taken in and then diffusing. Taking a close look at my hand reminded me of a children’s song called “Close your hands; Open your hands”. Close and open (release) have opposite meanings, like mess up and tidy up, go out and come back, inhale and exhale, and so on. That’s the way we live, repeating two extreme actions infinitely and I realized that any act, whether it is the reconstruction or creation of art work, should start with this utmost simple and easy work with hands: this is the root. And I recognized that everything starts with “Close your hands; Open your hands”, a song we learn in early childhood. I would be happy if the visitors can enjoy my work, remembering a warm scene humming the song in their childhood memories.
(ISHIDA Tomoko)

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