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Osamu Yatou, Joetsu Japan-Australia Society

16 August 2011

Kim's 'Skin' swaying in the wind

At the entrance of the old Japanese house in Kotani village, where Ms Kim Anderson created her artwork, she shyly welcomed me in saying "Konnichiwa". I was going to assist her as an interpreter when she collaborated with the local villagers, but she was making conversation very well with the Japanese she learnt from the time she worked in Kobe as an assistant language teacher and also with her friendly smile. "Well, she does not need my assistance – especially with my poor English." I completely felt like a visiting guest rather than her assistant.

On a quiet holiday afternoon, the elderly villagers, young volunteers and people from the city visited the workplace and created their body prints one by one on Kim's washi (Japanese paper). It was such a fun experience, being able to do something we weren't allowed to in our childhood days.

Except for the bustle of the occasional visitor, the village's summer was quiet. Kim was concentrating on her artworks and I sat by the fireside, looking at the history imprinted within the old Japanese house. When looking outside through the back door from the fireside, I could see the old neighboring house, and then an old shrine further in the back. The shrine was surrounded by 600-year-old zelkova (keyaki) tree as well as some Japanese cedar trees equally ancient. Kim created some frottages of the old tree's bark, as well as the stones at the shrine's approach and the wooden walls of the old house to the washi.

Kim repeatedly emphasised her idea that the surface of an object was directly connected to its essential quality and she wished to present it through the image of the surface. Printing the surfaces of village objects that are fading away on the translucent thin and beautiful washi, which was handmade in this village, told the village's history. The hand - and footprints of the village elders and visitors told the individual history of the people.

Kim's completed artworks were exhibited at Matsudai Noubutai Gallery. I found my imprint there which seemed to blend in with the history of the Kotani village. The printed history of the village and individuals strongly overlapped in Kim's artworks but also swayed gently whenever a puff of air moved through the venue.

A few days later, Kim visited the Naoetsu prison camp site. A bright and fresh summer sea breeze blows in this area despite its sad history. I wanted to know what Kim felt here - whether she felt awkwardness due to the overlap between the history and the present situation, or if she had a different view.

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Members of Joetsu Japan-Australia
Society listening to the Kim's talk
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No.23 – Skin of a Joetsu
Japan-AustraliaSociety member

Kim Anderson

8 August 2011

Openings and Closings

Well – sadly, a month has passed and my residency has come to an end. It's been an absolute rollercoaster and so many things have happened. I really don't know where the time has gone??!

The last few days have been absolutely flat-out, which has left me feeling a little shell-shocked and empty today. On Friday morning I had an interview at the gallery for Tokamachi radio, and then I had to give my workshop at Sansho House in the evening. This went better than expected, although I was terribly nervous, especially with a TV crew hanging around! All this media attention for little old Kim from Ballarat, it's a little overwhelming! It took a little while for people to settle into the activities, but after a while they really seemed to become immersed and some fabulous drawings were produced. The theme of my workshop was "feet" with two activities occurring: close observational drawing of each others' feet and actual printing of their footprints.

I chose feet, not only because of the connection with my exhibition at Noubutai, but also because drawing each others' feet is a good "ice breaker" – we cannot see the bottom of our foot very easily without a mirror so allowing someone else to look closely at it and draw it is an act of trust. Our feet work hard during our lives and have many lines and creases that are a like a map of where we have been and what we have done. Making the footprints was to emphasise the idea that our feet are what connect us physically to a place, taking us to new ones and back to old ones. Perhaps the concepts were not important to some of the participants, but at least they seemed to enjoy the activities.

On Saturday, I joined the Creative For Humanity team's workshop which had the children building little spaces for themselves outside using natural found materials. Some of these were absolutely amazing – the perfect summer getaway! After lunch all the smaller spaces were joined together to make a big one, which actually became an outdoor gallery for the drawings created the night before. We also made a pathway of the footprints leading from the gymnasium to the "gallery" – I must say it looked quite spectacular! Best outdoor gallery I've ever seen, and it definitely beats the Guggenheim hands down! A shame it was only temporary, but I guess that's the beauty of such things in a way in that they are only fleeting.

On Sunday morning I attended the opening of a special exhibition at Seizo Tashima's "Museum of Picture Book Art" – probably one of my favourite places in all of Echigo-Tsumari. I was so excited and honoured to actually meet Tashima-san, so genki (energetic) and such an inspiring and uplifting man. His work makes my spirits rise and my heart feel as light as a butterfly – it really does make me smile and feel that all my worries are not important.

After that of course, it was the official opening of my exhibition – and in a way closing, because sadly it was the last day of my residency. At Noubutai, we put the finishing touches to the show (ie. hung two final pieces), and added the last names to the list of participants in the printing (over 70 in all), and I became incredibly nervous while hiding in the office for the last half an hour before the official opening time of 5:30pm.

In truth, it all went quite well. There were quite a number of people there including the mayor of Tokamachi City, representatives from the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, Mr Fram Kitagawa (the General Director of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale) and much to my delight, some of the elderly villagers from Kotani! I was thrilled to see them as they have been my ultimate inspiration, and I think they were very excited by the occasion. I gave them a special thank you for all the kyuri (cucumbers) that got me through some long working hours. People really seemed to appreciate the work and I hope they were able to understand my somewhat abstract concepts behind it.

The only thing missing was my family, who I know were with me in spirit. It made me think of the night before when I participated in Kitagawa-san's drawing workshop at Sansho House. He asked us to draw the thing that was most important to us and I could not decide between two things: on one side of the paper I drew myself making my art, and on the other side I drew my family. One of those things was there with me last night, and the other one wasn't – and I so dearly wished they were. But sometimes the two cannot mix, hence the significance of each drawing being on a different side of the paper. It is one of the most difficult things about being an artist.

And so – it's all over and I feel sad, relieved, lost, bewildered, exhausted and yet exhilarated by the whole experience. Despite the stress and the ups and downs, it has been really amazing and Echigo-Tsumari has worked its way into my heart and mind. I now want to just take in the place, let it sink into my skin (in keeping with my theme), but also take the opportunity of being here as an artist and do a little more work before I go. There's always a little more, and then even a little more that can be done. I will be sad to leave, but I hope this is not the end. Somehow, sometime, I will be back...

For now, jamatane (see you again).

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Busily drawing each others'
feet at Sansho House (05.08.2011)
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A proud set of footprints!

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Making footprints (05.08.2011)
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Our outdoor "Guggenheim"!

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Some new friends (06.08.2011)
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The design team (06.08.2011)

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Exhibition installation view
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Exhibition installation view 2

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Drawing detail – the hand of a
local Kotani farmer (07.08.2011)
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Opening party – with some Kotani
villagers, my inspiration!

Miyoko Shibata, Joetsu Japan-Australia Society

7 August 2011

Kim-san's exhibition

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The opening reception for Ms Kim Anderson's exhibition "Skin" was held on a hot over-30 degrees sunny day after being postponed for a week due to the heavy rain that hit the region.

Standing at the entrance of Matsudai Noubutai Gallery, the exhibition venue, I could see 10 or more of her washi (Japanese paper) works hanging from the ceiling through the glass walls with the greenery outside reflecting in the background. The surrounding people's movement made the washi swing, and with the sunlight and greenery reflecting through the glass, this created a beautiful space.

All her work, the hands and feet prints of the people who visited her work place, including those of the locals and the frottages of the local land and trees were named one by one. I enjoyed her works by holding a paper with all of the numbers and names of the artwork written on it- It helped me imagine the owners of those hands and feet and the history of the huge trees.

I think that all the people including myself who attended her workshop, more or less had been looking forward to how one's hands and feet prints or how the many washi, which had been scrunched up then ironed would turn out as a finished art work.

Today I enjoyed both the exhibition venue and each one of Kim's completed art works. I heard that the artworks look different depending on how and when the sunlight comes in. I left the venue thinking what a great idea it was to come and see the same artworks for a second time after some time has passed.

Kim Anderson

4 August 2011

Busy Times

After all that anxious build-up towards last Sunday, this week has felt strangely empty – although I'm not at liberty to put my feet up and relax just yet. Actually, I have been feeling a little physically and mentally exhausted after such an intense working period. It's perhaps a little difficult to put into words, but the making of my artwork is a very personal process where the creativity comes from some kind of energy deep within myself – bringing it to life and out into the open can be really draining. I think this is probably something many artists can relate to...

In fact, I feel I've barely gotten started and there's so much more work I want to do! This place is just too inspiring and I wish I could stay longer to take it all in. I would especially love to have more time to interact with the villagers – not since I first arrived have I had much of a chance. They must be wondering where on earth I've gone?! Even though the exhibition is now up I still want to continue exploring my ideas – I might as well make the most of this opportunity for my artistic development. I have actually been doing some more frottage and have so many ideas for more drawings – perhaps to exhibit in Australia (or Japan) at a later date...

On Wednesday I held another body imprinting workshop for the Matsudai people, which proved extremely popular with over 30 people turning up throughout the afternoon – which makes over 70 altogether! We finished up with two more works which will be added to the exhibition. I was glad to have a real mixture of age groups – from about 1 year old right through to quite elderly, which made the variation of prints quite interesting. The afternoon's proceedings were actually kicked off with one little dog paw print thanks to Kokoa Yanagi!

Today was my first "free" day in a long time and I visited Kyororo, the Echigo-Matsunoyama Museum of Natural Science – an incredible architectural structure by Takaharu and Yui Tezuka. I met a few of my "froggy friends" in there (or I suspect they might be "toady friends"), three of which I have chased out of my house so far. I particularly enjoyed the work Tin-Kin-Pin by Taiko Shono, and also following Jenny Holzer's stones in her Nature Walk. It was nice to slow down a bit today (although I did do some frottage work for a couple of hours), especially as the next three days – sadly the last three of my residency – are going to be extremely busy with workshops and... the official opening of my exhibition (yikes!)

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Young hands... (03.08.2011)
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And older feet of Matsudai

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The work in progress (03.08.2011)
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Vertigo – Taiko Shono's work
viewed from within the tower
at Kyororo (04.08.2011)

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And for those back at home –
this colour green doesn't
exist in Australia! (04.08.2011)

Kim Anderson

31 July 2011


Well – the work is installed, lighting done, everything ready to go and...

... the opening is now postponed until next week!

There was the most phenomenally heavy rain causing landslides and road closures on Friday night. Most of the staff had to stay at Noubutai overnight - I left around 7 and apparently I was lucky to get home just in time, although it was terrible driving in the rain.

I seem to have no luck with natural disasters - first the earthquake destroyed Australia House, then that bloody Chile volcano ash cloud affected my flight from Australia to Japan, and now landslides... What is happening to the world???!!!! My first international solo exhibition plagued by disasters... Hopefully the show itself won't be...

So – as a result of all of that the gallery have decided to postpone my official opening until next Sunday 7th August instead, although the exhibition will actually be open to the public from Monday. It feels a little bit strange after all the stress leading up to today - a total anti-climax after all that intensity. Suddenly I have an extra week - I might even get a couple more drawings done...

We started hanging the works on Friday - 25 sheets of beautiful "washi (Japanese paper)" - I think the paper itself is the star of the show. Kota-san has done an amazing job with both the hanging and the lighting – was incredible to watch him hanging onto the ceiling and moving the ladder with his feet!!! I think all gallery assistants should be circus-trained...

As for the work itself - there is a mixture of drawings, frottage and prints - over 40 people participated in the printing. I think I'm happy with the way it looks, although it's always hard to tell when it's your own work – I always feel that I could do more or better.

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The tools are down and the
work begins (29.07.2011)
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Drawing of the hands of a
Kota-Ni villager (29.07.2011)

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Bokuju (Japanese ink) hand
prints and frottage (29.07.2011)
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Sneak Preview (31.07.2011)

Kim Anderson

28 July 2011

The clock is ticking...

For most of the past week it has been all about work – so much to do and so little time!!! I am generally oscillating between totally sick panic and a sense of resignation that the vision I had is just not attainable in such a short space of time. Once the "jogging girl" of Kota-Ni, I've now become the "hunchback hermit", hunched over my drawings day and night – unfortunately a running injury doesn't help. I've barely left the house in days, and am hardly aware of whether it's day or night. I'm sure the villagers wonder where on earth I've gone??! They must rest assured I am busy working and consuming their wonderful cucumbers along the way (at last count I had about 45 of them in my refrigerator on Saturday night!!!) The beautiful village beckons through my window, but it must wait until the work is done...

That said – despite the intensity of work, I have had numerous visitors and actually one day out of the studio for the Echigo-Tsumari 2012 site visit. Last Saturday I was visited by some members of the Japan-Australia Society of Joetsu. Funnily enough, there was an unexpected Ballarat connection – one of the members' daughters has just bought a house in Ballarat and is planning to move there, and there was also an Australian lady with them (one of their reciprocal members in my own country), who'd had her honeymoon in Ballarat! Such a small world sometimes!

On Sunday I joined the site visit for the 2012 Echigo-Tsumari Arts Triennale and the new Australia House – the furthest I'd been out into the world for days, which felt really strange at first. Despite feeling terribly guilty for not working in my studio I think an outing was probably good for me – a breath of fresh air and a chance to gain some perspective on my work. Since then I have been working intensively, trying to do as much as I can in a short space of time – not easy as my drawings can easily take at least 20 hours or so to complete... I want to do so many more but such a short time does not do my idea justice...

On Monday I was visited by a friend of one of the Joetsu Society members and the three boys in her charge who were very happy to do some prints for me. NHK TV also visited, which was rather a surreal experience – Tom Waits' song Big in Japan kept echoing through my head the whole time!

Since then I have been drawing, drawing, worrying, drawing, worrying, drawing some more and worrying even more... The work is slowly coming together but there is not enough of it. If I had an extra week before the opening I'd be happy... The 40 sheets of washi (Japanese paper) are currently reduced to about 25 pieces of work so far – perhaps I will add a few drawings after the opening on Sunday.

Tomorrow we have to start working out where to hang the finished pieces in the gallery - it's not going to be easy as they're all so different.

I've never felt so nervous about an exhibition before – I think I might be hiding under the table at the opening hoping no one will notice me...

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Members of the Japan-Australia
Society of Joetsu making their
contribution (23.07.2011)
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Some unexpected visitors

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Even more washi everywhere
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Hard at work (27.07.2011)

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Cucumbers – maybe I should
take up still life painting...??!

Kim Anderson

21 July 2011

Paper paper everywhere...

After all the visitors over the weekend, Monday's Open Studio turned out to be very quiet even though it was a public holiday. In a way it was rather a good thing as it enabled me to get some more work done and think a bit more clearly about how I want the exhibition to look. Yoshikazu Kondo from the Japan-Australia Society of Joetsu and Kota Amano from Matsudai Noubutai Gallery were my companions for the afternoon, and both were very willing participants in my imprinting project which was wonderful! Being agile of body and unafraid of covering themselves in bokuju (ink), together we produced some really nice pieces that I'm very happy with.

After Kota-san and Yoshi-san left, I went out and did some frottage on the outside surface of an abandoned house. It was rather eerie, being just on sunset with a pink sky and very quiet (apart from the cicadas, which I'm getting used to as constant background noise.) Later I was visited by a local villager offering me the biggest zucchinis I have ever seen – what a lovely finish to a productive day! And that was after being laden with more kyuri (cucumber) and nasu (eggplant) than I could carry that morning by another O-ba-san when I was just returning from my morning jog – a good thing I love vegetables!!! These people are so sweet – I wish I could give them something in return. At the very least, I owe it to them to create some great artwork inspired by both the people and this place – I hope...

The last three days have been all about work. Slowly, slowly things are coming together, although I have so much to do sometimes I feel I don't know where to start... My dining/living room is rapidly being taken over by washi (Japanese paper) – it's like a rather interesting installation project in itself, although far from finished. I have to pass through curtains of washi just to get to my kitchen – how I love having such a big studio in my home, what a luxury!

Admittedly I am feeling slightly panicked about how quickly time is passing, I have been frottaging and drawing like mad but it doesn't seem to be happening quickly enough. Today I spent about 10 hours non-stop drawing one of the local villager's feet. Actually, it's an interesting process observing and drawing from the photographs I take – I feel as though I am getting to know these people intimately in a way no one else ever will. I see every little line upon their skin, every little detail that no one but themselves would even notice, and do my best to draw them with the greatest care. It is rather a privilege, and one of the special things about being an artist that I really value.

Anyway – much work to do so I cannot delay... One brief pleasant interlude today was the arrival of the first group of school children at Sansho House – absolutely lovely to see the place all lit up tonight and echoing with the sound of their voices! It was enough to make me forget my anxiety about the exhibition for just a short while...

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Washi everywhere!
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Kota-san (left) and Yoshi-san (right)
showing their "handy" work

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Some work in progress (20.07.2011)
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School children arriving in
Kota-Ni (21.07.2011)

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Help!!! (22.07.2011)

Kim Anderson

17 July 2011

The work begins...

Since the paper1 arrived, things have been moving ahead very quickly, and as a result I've been working absolutely madly! Sleep and any other recreational activities are postponed for now... The rest of the entire 40 sheets arrived on Saturday (yesterday) morning – thank goodness - just in time for my open studio weekend. Now the work is really beginning...

Yesterday (Saturday) and today I have had an open studio where the local people could come in to Kamiyashki and see my work, and also participate in the process. The first thing that needed to be done was to prepare the paper in the traditional method demonstrated to me by the paper-maker. 40 sheets needed to be scrunched and then ironed, and I had a great team arrive just at the right moment. As visitors to Echigo-Tsumari I'm sure they weren't expecting to be doing such a thing, but it did make what could have been a fairly tedious task much easier and more enjoyable.

I had invited the local people of Kota-Ni to come and make some imprints of their hands and feet which quite a few of them did, although I wish I had thought through the technicalities a little bit more beforehand. The bokuju (liquid ink) took some getting used to and getting the consistency right was a little difficult. But in the end we got some results that I'm sure I can work with.

This morning – another bag of cucumbers from my elderly neighbour. That makes three bags of cucumbers from various sources in a week! The villagers are so lovely and it's a good thing I like vegetables!!! Today's open studio session ran a lot more smoothly and I feel like the concept for the exhibition, while becoming somewhat simplified, is starting to come together. The team of kohebi from Sansho House had a lot of fun doing face prints, and some architecture students from Tokyo did some lovely prints of their ears! Somehow this imprint idea has run away from me...??!!!

This is all helping me to learn that sometimes things are beyond my control, and I have to be flexible enough to "go with the flow", constantly refining the artistic ideas to fit with unexpected outcomes. Tomorrow is another open studio day – so who knows what will happen... I guess I just have to keep an open mind?!

1 Paper (Washi): Washi comes from wa meaning Japanese and shi meaning paper, and the term is used to describe paper made by hand in the traditional manner.

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My wonderful team of "paper
scrunchers!" (16/07/2011)
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O-ba-san(eldely lady) of Kota-Ni
making a handprint (16/07/2011)

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Painting the hand with white
bokuju (16/07/2011)
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Sansho House kohebi getting up
close with bokuju! (17/07/2011)

Kim Anderson

13 July 2011

Getting To Know The Locals

On Sunday afternoon I was invited along to the community hall in Kota-Ni to partake in an "exercise" class for the local people – mostly elderly. It was actually quite a lot of fun and I hope I'm as full of life and laughter as these people when I'm in my eighties! After the exercises and games I was introduced properly to them and invited to speak about my work and show some pictures (thanks to Yusuke's wonderful translation I think I managed to convey my ideas despite a sudden onset of nerves). The people were all very receptive and more than happy to allow me to photograph their hands and feet – I think they were proud to show the lines and callouses that tell the story of their life's work: worn and weathered skin is something to be proud of rather than hidden.

I received the first of what is proving to be many bags of cucumbers, and think I have now adopted several new grandparents – which is not at all a bad thing!

The ladies from Sansho House invited me back on Monday morning to photograph them at work in the flower garden, which gave me the opportunity to see them "in action".

Not being able to commence work for the exhibition until the paper I need is ready, I've been at a bit of a loose end over Monday and Tuesday, and even today. Having reached a point where I couldn't do much more I decided it would be a good opportunity to explore Satoyama Art Park behind Noubutai Gallery, and also to visit James Turrell's House of Light – a truly amazing experience.

On Tuesday night I was invited again to the Kota-Ni community hall, this time to a meeting of the local men (accompanied by Akiko-san). It was a rather lively gathering, fuelled by the ever-present Asahi Super-Dry, and I was subject to many questions about myself and Australia in general. Akiko did an incredible job as translator – I only wish my Japanese would improve more rapidly... I must work a lot harder at trying to remember all I once knew.

Today – finally – a small amount of my paper has arrived... Just about at the point where I'm starting to panic!!! Two weeks to pull the show together is about the tightest deadline I've ever had to make... I think there's no sleep to be had from here on in...

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The hands of a local farmer
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At work in the garden at Sansho
House (11.07.2011)

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Inside the WD Spiral at Satoyoma
Art Park, Noubutai Gallery
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Surrounded by the men of Kota-Ni
displaying their hands and feet

Kim Anderson

8 July 2011

Arrival in Echigo-Tsumari

After my arrival in Echigo-Tsumari yesterday, a much-needed night's sleep had me feeling refreshed and ready to go this morning. First up was a visit to Sansho House with Yusuke Iguchi, just near Kamiashki ("my" house), to meet with Akiko Tobita and a couple of local ladies who worked there. We were warmly welcomed with tsukemono (Japanese pickles) and sencha (Japanese green tea), and I was even able to take some photographs of the ladies' hands and feet which they willingly and candidly displayed for me – a good start for the theme of my work!

Following that, Kota drove us to a local paper factory to try and source the paper I need for the exhibition. Wow – what an incredible place, I felt so lucky to see it and witness such a finely honed craft. Very traditional, the result of five generations of paper makers, the current head of which has been at it for 40 years! I learned so much about the paper and the process of making it, and being primarily a drawer with a passion for paper, I feel really excited at the prospect of using something so beautifully and meticulously made. It is important to the whole concept of my exhibition to be able to use something from the local area – from the growing of the kozo tree to the final presentation of the work – it is all connected.

We also visited council offices in Matsudai and Matsunoyama to obtain some topographic maps of the region. Somehow I want to combine this idea of the lines of the landscape (being a kind of "skin") with the lines on the skin of the actual inhabitants themselves - hence the title of the exhibition, "Skin". I'm not sure how this will work visually yet, but I envisage layers of lines on transparent "skin-like" paper.

That night Yusuke and I were treated to a wonderful display of fireflies thanks to Akiko's knowledge of the area. Having never seen anything like that before, for me it was a spectacular finish to what felt like a productive day – at least in terms of the clarification of my ideas. How they evolve visually is yet to be seen...

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A cup of tea at Sansho
House (08.07.2011)
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Washi coloured with natural plant
dyes from the local area (08.07.2011)

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Washi being made (08.07.2011)
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Yusuke and Kota being shown
the kozo tree (08.07.2011)

Kim Anderson

24 - 27 June 2011

Site Visit Report

My site visit to Echigo-Tsumari from 24 (Fri) – 27 (Mon) June proved to be something of a whirlwind, but a good one! While very short and sweet, it was extremely beneficial to view the gallery and the Urada region itself prior to officially commencing my residency on 7th July.

Upon my arrival in Tokyo from Melbourne I was able to meet with Hitomi Toku, Australian Embassy, Tokyo; Miwa Worrall, NPO Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Collaborative Organisation; and Yusuke Iguchi, coordinator of my residency at Art Front Gallery and discuss our initial plans and timeline for the project. After this I had the great honour of attending a media conference to announce the Australia House Open Call for Architecture Design Proposals, and to have the wonderful opportunity to meet many of the Echigo-Tsumari Project's sponsors and supporters, other artists as well as the current Australian Ambassador to Japan. The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale is an extremely exciting initiative and I am absolutely thrilled to be involved – already, after being in Japan for barely a few hours, I am already scheming to find a means to return again and again!

On Saturday I travelled with Miwa to Matsudai Nobutai Gallery to meet Kota Amano and other gallery staff who will be assisting me with my exhibition, and also to see the minka (private residences constructed in any one of several traditional Japanese building styles) where I will be staying during the residency. I was able to spend a lot of time in the gallery space which will help with the planning of my exhibition – it's quite an unusual space so it will be a challenge to create an installation there! It is rare to have the opportunity to visit a gallery space prior to beginning a residency overseas, so it was a great chance for me to visualise more clearly the kind of work I want to create.

During Saturday and Sunday I was extremely fortunate to be able to visit the Shedding House, along with Marina Abramović's Dream House and Christian Boltanski and Jean Kalman's The Last Class – it was awe-inspiring to see the work of such amazing internationally renowned artists, but also rather sad to see the damage from the aftershock. I hope they can be repaired and restored to their former state and that people can visit them again as soon as possible. By far one of the highlights of my trip was the visit to Seizo Tashima's Museum of Picture Book Art – an absolutely magical and inspiring place that will remain in my memory forever! If only I could share it such a beautiful place with the people back home.

Throughout my visit, the beauty of the Echigo-Tsumari region managed to get under my skin and into my heart – I am so looking forward to returning and being able to create my artwork there. Having long-held a keen interest in Japanese culture, as well as spending a year teaching English in Kobe in 2005, I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to go back and re-establish a connection with such an amazing and unique place.

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Kota and Miwa in Marina
Abramović's Dream House
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A special welcome!

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The minka in Kota-Ni
where I will be staying
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Seizo Tashima's amazing
Museum of Picture Book Art