The Brimming Universe

Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, exhibition room 6
October 17 - December 23, 2008

愛知県美術館 展示室6
2008年10月17日 〜 12月23日

Photo by Yoshihiro Kikuyama
撮影 菊山義浩

Photo by Yoshihiro Kikuyama
撮影 菊山義浩

Text from Matsufuji Koichi “The Brimming Universe” at Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art in 2008

Glass Baby

Pale Memory
After being removed from the mold, the surface of the glass is carefully polished, slowly revealing the body of a baby. This process is a precious opportunity for Matsufuji to talk with his artwork. As the process continues, his childhood memories begin to overlap with the image of his artwork. For instance, one of his past works included a baby with cranes flying out from its mouth. It is a work that connects Matsufuiji's birthplace of Nagasaki with a message entrusted to the cranes. This time butterflies fly around the baby. It arises from a peaceful and happy childhood memory in which butterflies were flitted around him in a field of rape blossoms. Although the outline of the translucent glass is initially dim, as his memories pile atop one another, the figure gradually begins to emerge.

The Universe: the brimming spring of life
The surface of the baby's body is finished in ground glass, stretching like a thin membrane brimming with light from the inside as if filled with water. It is the spring of life, never running out, but springing eternal. This seamless vitality forms a universe in the shape of a baby. The space where the babies are placed is as soundless, cool and mysterious as a mother’s womb carrying a baby. Then, silvery butterflies perch on the baby, as if resting their wings in an oasis to draw nectar from a flower, after which they flitter in the air, putting their short and fragile lives into a rhythmical dance. Babies and butterflies have opposite characteristics, such as stillness and motion, eternity and instance, earth and space. Their bipolar nature countervails in a fine balance, filling the space with a comfortable tension.

Enlightened gaze
When most people picture a baby, they often think of it sleeping peacefully, or smiling with sparkling eyes, don't they? A baby created by Matsufuji is far from that image. The chubby outline of his baby is real, however its cold facial expression with narrow eyes is purely celestial like Buddha. It is based on the research into the modeling of Buddha statues Matsufuji undertook when he began his work on the baby. In the New Collection of Ancient and Modern Poems, there exists a poem “Soko kiyoku kokoro no mizu wo sumasazu wa ikaga satori no hasu wo mo mimu. (Unless the bottom of your heart is clear, how can people find a lotus of enlightenment? )” Perhaps a baby brimming with translucence embodies eternal truth.

Matsufuji breathes life into the baby overlapping a translucent image of glass with his own memory and imagination. Let's open our eyes. We can hear the baby's small, gentle breathing.

Miki Mori
Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art

2008年愛知県美術館テーマ展 松藤孝一展「湛える宙」のパンフレットより




一般的な赤ちゃんのイメージは、安らかに眠っていたり、キラキラした瞳で笑いかけたりするものではないだろうか。松藤の赤ちゃんは、そうしたイメージからは遠い。ふっくらとした輪郭は赤ちゃんそのものだが、瞳を細めた冷ややかな表情は悟りの境地に至ったように清く神々しい。それは松藤が赤ちゃんを制作し始めた頃に、仏像の造形を研究したことに由来するのかもしれない。新古今和歌集のなかに「底清く 心の水を澄まさずは いかが悟りの蓮をも見む」という歌があるが、透明感を湛えたガラスの赤ちゃんは、永遠の真理を体現しているのかもしれない。


愛知県美術館学芸員 森美樹



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