Syoin Kajii

SYOIN KAJII TSUKI im DITTINGRAUM – Christophe Guye Galerie

Timed with the start of the exhibition Mysticism – The Longing for the Absolute, opening on the 23rd of September at the Museum Rietberg, Tsuki will present Kajii’s photographic images that the artist created alongside his video he made especially for this museum show. Rather than focusing on art, aesthetic and iconography, Mysticism ratherengages with spiritual experience, displaying the diversity of mysticism that spans from Europe to Iran, India and the Far East. Kajii was inspired for his latest works by the Sotoschool of Zen, a Buddhist school founded by the Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher Dogen. With the works on view at the D I T T I N G R A U Mthe artists presents us with visuals that are calm yet restless at once, portraying the moon’s light in the Japanese sea as simultaneously unnerving and still. Symbolic and accidental alike, specks of light lightly dance on the water’s dark surface, inviting the viewer to absorb and engage with the Soto pursuit of “unity of practice and enlightenment”.

A Buddhist monk himself, Kajii has always had a special connection to the sea: while a priest of Shingon on the island of Sado, Kajii came to create his well-known photographic series Nami. “I’d like to separate my religion and photography. I sometimes feel, however, there is some kind of similarity in practicing and reciting Buddhist sutras and in being concentrated to photograph waves.” As with Nami, the ever-restless sea comes to life in Tskui, yet this time in a much more gentle and ascetic way. Energetically haunting and feline at once, the mystical power of the water’s depths is captured in these “black and white” stills. The speckles of moonlight dancing on the water’s surface, like a ballet of dark and light, are beautifully illustrated; the video’s rhythm from composed to wild is captured, creating almost abstracted portraits of movement and play.