One Hundred Views of MITATE

Artist/Printmaker : NANA SHIOMI

Dates : 16 - 13 June 2009

EDITIONS Ltd, 16 Cook Street, Liverpool

Exhibition Statement:
One of the many differences that I find interesting between the West and Orient, is the view of the universe itself. In the West, the universe is seen in a vertical configuration, with human beings in the centre, God above, and animals below, and with plants lower still. However, in the Japanese viewpoint, humans animals, insects, plants, minerals, the elements, wind and rain, the moon and other planets are juxtaposed, so that the whole world, including the self, are equality, there is a ready feeling of empathy and a natural feeling of oneness with the rest of the universe.

For the MITATE series, I selected 100 elements that I consider profoundly relevant to Japanese culture. All the elements are juxtaposed equally. Each of there selected elements is closely intertwined with the lives of the Japanese people, referred to from antiquity in songs, stories, poems and dances, drawn on paper, made into pastry, used as decorations and as patterns on kimono fabric.

MITATE refers to a process of thought that Japanese culture has enjoyed since ancient times, a form of analogy comparing one thing to another. The white sand and rock formations in a Japanese garden, for example, are in reality nothing more than sand and rocks, but enjoying the free association the viewer can see in them such images as “island in the sea”, or “the universe and the self” or so on. Objects become more than single elements when repositioned in their total context, and their relationships can then be seen in a new light. In the MITATE series, my objective is to have the viewer choose any of the 100 elements that take their fancy and give them new meaning by creating their own combinations and associations. This viewer selection then, will give new life to and take on new meanings for the worn-out and antiquated symbols of Japanese culture.

Opening 21 May 2009

The Old Barber Shop at the Bluecoat, Liverpool

Contact Emma Gregory for information