As the world largest international outdoor art festival, the seventh Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale opened on July 29th 2018 in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. Taking field as the stage, art as the bridge, connecting human and nature, the art festival is trying to discuss regional culture’s heritage and development and revitalize agriculture regions declining in the modernization progress.
This year, Cheng Yanchun and his team participated the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field Triennale’s special exhibition “The Hojoki Shiki” with their work “Space-time Cave”. Taking the periphery from the gallery to the Echigo-Tsumari Cultural Center opening this autumn, the project is aiming to reinforce the circulation of Tokamachi city’s central area.
Concept: A 10-foot square hut - through observing a micro world, seeing a macro universe. The universe exists even in the tiniest world, and the unit that measures the universe is only time and space.
Have you ever experienced a complete Japanese tea ceremony? For nearly half a day, people felt the universe by drinking a bowl of tea. More importantly, in a small space, reflect and observe one’s inner world through tea soup, utensils and a series of behavioral action.
Designed by the C+ Architects team, the “Space-time Cave” is set to be a mobile tea house that can accommodate 2 to 3 people. In this small “cave” of 2.4x2.4x2.4 meters, people experience time and space through changes in light, air and even rain.
Unlike the traditional tea room, the installation is displayed in the corridor of the Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art, which can be said to be an “architecture within architecture”. The designer avoids the appearance of building components to the greatest extent, and realizes various openings to archive the function of windows and doors in architecture language, making the whole more abstract and purer. At the same time, through the slender hole, viewers can also enjoy the artwork created by the artist Leandro Erlich in the central courtyard of the museum.
Mortise and Tenon / Assembly Using traditional Mortise and Tenon joint, the designer built a movable “hut” with a single material and construction. The components are cut into dimensions that are easy to transport and install. The texture and the section of the material are expressed in the original way. When the “hut” no longer assumes any function, it can be dismantled and processed into other wood products to achieve the recycling of the material.
Scaling Up of Furniture / Scaling Down of Architecture The “hut” is an ambiguous existence between installation and architecture. It is like an enlarged piece of furniture, and a house with architectural features. This is the same as the bed in traditional Chinese courtyard house.
The four corners of the cube are cut away, forming windows and door openings, letting light entering the space from different directions, forming a box of light. When people are inside the “hut”, different angles of sky and scenery can be seen through various openings.
About Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale hopes to prosper the local country through the power of art, the wisdom of locals and resource of the community. With the assist of people with different age, background and origins, we unloaded urbanites’ value, breaking the limits between origins, age and background culture and reestablishing a new mode that can make the community to keep refreshing to communicate the ideal of indulging into nature.
Numerous of famous artists from all over the world acknowledged ambition of the art festival and the scope of the giant stage and participated in it, like Russian artist Ilya Kabakov and his wife Emilia, Chinese contemporary artist Cai Guoqiang, French contemporary artist Christian Boltanski, etc.
Exhibition “The Hojoki Shiki” “Hojoki” is the essays that Kamo no Chomei wrote when he was living seclusively in Hinoyama, recalling his life’s encounters, describing changing of the world, and signing the uncertainty of life. The book begins with describing his own life, then writes about hiding in Oharayama, and then writes about moving to Hinoyama and building hermitage there. With elegant writing, Kamo no Chomei records the quiet and lonely life in Hojo’s hermitage and, at the same time, expresses his inner contradiction and worry. At last, he straight forwardly expresses his feelings, introspecting whether he can live a poor and simple life. As a masterpiece enduring through the ages, “Hojoki” has a deep influence on Japanese literature, history, philosophy and etc.
Architect Hiroshi Hara assigns the topic and is one of the jury. Other juries include architect Ryue Nishizawa and Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale chief planner Kitagawa Tomiro. The exhibition exhibits assemble, movable small architecture projects. All the projects locate in the corridor of Satoyama Art Museum, forming a temporary, imaginary village. With Kamo no Chomei’s world view, architects, artists create small spaces, making the viewers see the world through these small spaces.
“First, ‘Hojoki’ is an architecture theory about regional architecturalism. It also can be seen as ‘beauty of scaling down’. Simply, it’s a story of exploring regionality, by scaling down a house to 1/10, 1/100, it reaches how dwelling should be. But this does not make ‘Hojoki’ a rare theory in world history of architecture. The most is important part is the second half. With the process of scaling down, it is not dwelling anymore, but, it starts to have exterior space transformation.” - Hiroshi Hara.