Architects Fumiaki Nagashima and Mami Nagashima Maruoka, of small Japanese practice MoNo, have shared with us their art installation Shining Tree in a Sacred Place.
The piece was dedicated to the people who had perished in Japan's major earthquake and tsunami last March. Erected inside the historic Oshioi Shrine in the Shiga prefecture, the installation was part of a large annual illumination event and invited visitors to commemorate and mourn the victims.
Here is a project description we received from MoNo:
This art work was dedicated to the people who had passed away in several disasters in this year 2011. Especially in Japan, the massive earthquake hit this country land with the huge tsunami so much that considerable damage and profound sorrow came to us. MoNo had the opportunity to join the illumination event “Kusatsu Machiakari Yumeakari Hanaakari – on autumnal Kusatsu road with sensory gratification”, which got over 30 thousands visitors. So MoNo could open our work as one of programs of “Akari Art Exhibition” which were held in some historic shrines and temples.
This event, 2011 is the 8th time, is operated by the chamber of commerce of Kuatsu-city. This city is by the Lake Biwa and it was an appointed area for inns along the 52 stages of the Tokaido road in the Edo period as an important junction of two main roads, Tokaido with Nkasendo. We can know the prosperity of this city with many shrines and temples in existence or Honjin which is rebuilt and preserved as one of government-designated historical site.
In such a city, in the grounds of “Oshioi Shrine” which was constructed in Heian period (more than 1100 years ago), MoNo’s art work was created and opened. It consisted of 2 installations, ”Shining Tree” which was higher than body length, and a lot of “SaSa” which were put under foot of Shining Tree. The former is a illumination device made of non- woven fabric which is cut like Shide (shrine’s white paper). A few Shining Trees cleared the axis of this art space and led vision of the visitors, being setting on the line connecting the Shrine Gate with the Sacred Tree. And the latter is a new version of lighting shade “SaSa” redesigned for a candle, which was designed in the image of bamboo leaves and opened with MoNo’s work “UKIGUMO- floating clouds” in France 2010. Over 120 candles with “SaSa”s were put on non-woven fabric which was spread around feet of Shining Trees like a surface of Lake Biwa.
Visitors could be surrounded by a lot of illuminations, walking on a path set in this art work. Every candle-light conveyed messages from cityscape or life which perished in an instant and also the people who took off for a distant world. And towering Shining Trees were the symbols of our destinations. The shining vegetation of this art work, trees and SaSas, came up in the sacred shrine where we take over from our forerunners, and held us who tried to walk on a new road.
Enjoing Autumn Kusatsu-road through the five physical senses
Kusatsu Machiakari Hanaakari Yumeakari
"Illumination Art Exhibition"
Kusatsu Machiakari Hanaakari Yumeakari Executive Committee
04 - 05. Nov. 2011