NORTH GALLERY, KYOTO ART CENTRE, JAPAN  2006

In 2006 Siân Bowen took up an invitation to carry out a three-month residency at Kyoto Art Centre. The previous year she had been researching an object, 'Hotorokago', which translates as Fire-fly Basket. A paper folding teahouse dating from the sixteenth century - the name comes from the reputation that it has for a particular sense of light of its interior. It was originally made to create a very intimate space within the vast and dark interior of Nishi Hogangi Temple in Kyoto. Now held in the stores of the temple collection, it is too rare and fragile to be erected. However Sian Bowen was fortunate enough to find that a replica had been made some sixty years before and was held in the private collection of a family of the custodian of the temple’s treasure store. It was erected (for the first time in nearly half a century) in order for her to video and photograph it.

In response, a large-scale installation of images made of the folding teahouse in different configurations. Nine drawings were suspended in a grid, and in order to communicate the sense of fragility of the original Firefly-Basket, the images were burnt into the semi-translucent handmade Japanese paper support. The lingering smell of burning of the work, together with the spacing of the works in their grid formation, invited and encouraged visitors to approach it very closely and intimately.

Each drawing: 185 x 156cm, burn on Japanese minogami & kozo paper

 

 

On return to the UK a second iteration of the installation was staged in the artist's studio, a former Congregational Chapel dating from 1857:

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