Tatsuno Art Project: Mountain. Wonder and Fear

Europe – Far East Gallery
12.08.2023 - 22.10.2023

Opening: 11.08.2023, 18.00

Curator: Akiko Kasuya Exhibition design, co-curation: Masakazu Miyanaga
Mountains, since ancient times, have been revered and feared as objects of admiration and awe at the same time. They could bring abundant harvests, but also terrible disasters such as avalanches and eruptions. In Japan and the East, mountains are often regarded as places of sacred and mystical power and are sometimes seen/perceived as a passageway between this world and the next. A religious movement called Shugendo was established around the 7th century in Japan, combining mountain worship with Buddhism and other religions. The mountains were the place where the practitioners, the Shugensha, trained in asceticism while treading through steep mountain ranges. 

Modern science and technology have unraveled many natural phenomena and also by entering the nooks and crannies of the mountains may uncover the deepest mysteries of the darkness. And yet, when we venture into the mountains, we leave our everyday perceptions behind, letting the rhythms and breaths of the mountains accompany us and shudder at the occasional glimpse of a passageway into another world. As if to warn us against the arrogance of human attempts to tame nature, the mountains stay in peace, through eternity. The conflicting movements of the mind between awe and longing have given rise to the 'uncanny', but the charm and mystery of mountains that soar or lie comfortably beyond human activity will remain unceasing. 

Previous editions of the “Mountain” exhibition in Kyoto and Tatsuno in Autumn 2021 were held in the midst of the global Corona pandemic, which made the contrast between the two - technology and nature – more significant. After this experience, the mountain exhibition comes to Krakow to explore the source of the mystical power, magnificence and mysterious charm of mountains through works featuring Polish and Japanese mountain motifs. It also compares different symbolic functions of mountains in the East and the West Towering mountains may function as symbols of the sublime, while steep mountains may represent something beyond difficulty, hardship and ego, but also be perceived as something beyond human knowledge, a passage between the afterlife and this world or a bountiful source of blessings.

Through these attempts cultural exchange between Japan and Poland is being fostered. Under the theme of 'Mountain', eight artists have been selected, four each from Poland and Japan, all of whom are active both at home and abroad. Through diverse and rich modes of expression such as painting, animation and installation, the artists will explore the fascination with mountains. 
Akiko Kasuya

Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.

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