Practising Mindfulness – On Japanese Experience in Creative Work

Małgorzata Niespodziewana-Rados, Ph.D.
(Faculty of Art, Pedagogical University of Cracow)

Getting to know Japanese tradition and art during my stay in Japan in 2002 and 2006 and breaking away from the routine of perceiving particular phenomena, I managed to establish my own artistic identity. During a three-month Mino Art Paper Village Project artistic residency in Japan I created a project in which, for the first time, I have taken up the subject of the universal body – a concept that I develop in my artistic works until this day. Nature that surrounded the Buddhist temple in which I stayed during the residency, observation of light and shade, day and night, participation in Japanese culture and life determined the rhythm of my days. Since the return from my journey to the Far East I created a lot of works referring to Japanese culture, art and custom. I was inspired i.a. by the oeuvres of Hokusai, Japanese comic books (manggha), Japanese handscrolls, or wood engravings with erotic subjects (shunga).

In my works I combine figurative drawing with abstract forms and decorative motifs taken from Japanese design. In my latest works from this year, prepared for the Manggha Museum, Museum of Papermaking in Duszniki-Zdrój and Mino Washi Paper Museum in Japan, I referred to the subject of dream and its rhythm in the context of form, hidden meanings and memory. The cycle of works entitled Tsukimi refers to Japanese tradition – the autumn admiration of the moon. On the other hand, the spatial installation entitled Nagara is a work devoted to the river flowing through the city of Mino and determining my daily routine – the sequence of working and resting during my stay in Japan. The installation refers to a very important Japanese experience – the sounds produced by the wind, body motions, or gestures.