” There are more Shrines than 7-11s “, 2023, Drawing+Installation

” 7-11より多い神社 ” Exhibition at Arts Itoya, Saga, Japan


What strikes me the most about Takeo is not the dreamlike landscape, but the omnipresence of symbols of spirituality in the cityscape. Shrines, temples and statues of deities are in every street corner to be seen. Despite that in modern living, these houses of gods have perhaps lost their importance and relevance, their presences are constant reminders of meanings beyond the material world.
I started with mapping out the Shinto shrines, buddhist temples as well as the smaller wayside shrines (路傍祠) in Takeo City. From the map we can see that they are mostly positioned within 10-15 mins walking distance apart from each other. They form a sort of spiritual archipelago, or one can argue, a large network of blank space where only mosquitoes congregate. 


As an experiment, I decided to make a shrine to worship the nostalgia of shrines. I want to create a temporary, abstract representation of a shrine that also depicts the fading of spirituality.
I found a document from the time of Taiwan under Japanese ruling (1895-1945)  that regulates the erection of new shrines. According to laws* announced during the Meiji and Shōwa eras, the main sanctuary should be located from the north, south facing and all the components of a shrine should have the same architectural style. 
Following these rules, I mark out the area of the shrine with fishing sinkers hanging in the air. The sinkers in two lines create an ambiguous outline of a Sandō (visiting path) leading to the main sanctuary, which are reinterpreted with two drawings.
(Mapping out shrines and temples in Takeo City)

The drawings are based on a collage of the four elements: Torii (Torii gate 鳥居), Komainu (lion- dog 狛犬) Tōrō (stone lantern 石灯籠) and Papillon butterflies. These are elements of shrines and in nature that present themselves in symmetry and in pairs, they indicate the presence/ pathway of a shrine without being the actual “countainer” of the gods. 
By repeating/ mirroring these elements throughout the vertical length of the collage, the drawings are composed  with multiple vanishing points- a technique that is used by Chinese landscape painters as early as in the Song dynasty (960-1279) ; as opposed to the Renaissance (13-17c) tradition that paintings have a central viewpoint, this technique encourages viewers to visually explore and wander through the scenes; which is a visual representation of the experience a walk through the spiritual archipelago in Takeo City.

(Installation side view)
(Installation nord facing)

(night view)