Friday, 24 July 2015

Indefinable Cities → Japan : Day 10

After 3 days in Uno Port in Tamano City we readied to leave for Onomichi - to install Emily Speed's "Garbuglio/Tangle" at the Komyoji-kaikan gallery in Onomichi.

The day started with a tour of the area by Koh's friend and Tamano resident Shoko. I had no idea where i was going but a 30 minute drive, uphill, gave me the idea that the view might be spectacular - after parking and taking a short walk through some amazing rock formations, we reached the summit and looked out over the many cloud covered peaks, and volcanic islands that populate the Seto inland sea between Honshu and Shikoku.

The view was hard to describe - i guess that old Friedrichian sublime thing sprang to mind as I stood looking out over the breathtakingly beautiful view. It took a few minutes to take it all in, and then a good few more to relax and contemplate.

This hilltop area was also home to a pack of wild dogs - common in parts of Japan, and prides of tame-ish wild cats.

From here, Shoko took us to her allotment, via the beach below the hilltop - where she is growing Soya and Azuki Beans. She told us that there is a thriving permaculture movement in this area - in opposition to the supermarket dominated situation that we are so used to in the UK. She is a board member of a local grower's collective that regularly hold market events (produce and craft) in the area. Alongside Shoko's plot were several others largely growing rice.

Before leaving for Onomichi, there was time to document Hirofumi's exhibition at Higashiyama Building - there had already been a few visitors by the time I got there - and whilst we were there, we were joined by a film crew who were filming a tv programme of a local comedian - and his visit to this increasingly important building.

The two hour train journey to Onomichi passed pretty quickly - and we arrived early evening and headed straight for Komyoji-Kaikan. Inland Onomichi seems to be built into the hills that line one side of the city, and so lots of the city require a bit of a hike to get to - the gallery sits a couple of levels above ground and adjoins an old temple and graveyard.

Once there, it was nice to see that Emily's work had arrived, if a little crumpled from its vacuum packing - but a steam treatment today should sort that out. I had time for a brief chat with one of the Gallery's project directors, Yutaka Inagawa, and I hope to get the chance to discover more about the gallery and its objectives over the next couple of days. At first sight, with a busy install carrying on for a group show happening alongside Emily's IC work, this space seems the closest to the artist-led examples in the UK, of all those we've visited so far.

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