Absence (Yumoto House)

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In July 2013 I spent a week at the Yumoto House in the small village of Akaiwa in Japan, making a site specific response to be exhibited as part of the Nakanojo Biennale which was held in Sept/Oct 2013.


I arrived at the Yumoto House with an open mind about what I would do there. I was drawn to the dust and the stillness.  I quietly cleaned, gently uncovering and revealing, prompting me to wonder what it had all been like before the dust had settled. I responded to what I found and let the work emerge. Although my process involves 'taking away', all I removed is still there but presented in a different way. For example, each day I kept the water used for cleaning and dipped my handmade paper in it, some days the water was dirtier than others. I would then add that day’s water to the previous days’ so the water would change even further.


While working in the space the concept of The Triptych emerged from the work. The concept is important in Western religion but for me it also relates to the idea of the past, the present and the future; of having, not having and the process of taking away; of the Yumoto House before I went, my visit and what it will become now I have left.


I was only able to be there for one week - the time went quickly! If I had longer the work might have been different but that is all the time I had so what I have done must be enough. What I  left behind will change. The dust will return, Yumoto San's cats may intervene and I am now absent again from the space.