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「畳(四畳半)」
 
 足利義政は1449年に室町幕府第8代将軍に就任します。
しかし正室の日野富子をはじめ、取り巻き達に政治の実権を握られその関心を失っていきます。
そして将軍後継者問題に斯波氏や畠山氏の家督相続問題が絡み、1467年には応仁の乱まで起こってしまうダメ将軍でした。
 ところが茶の湯、生け花、能などを庇護し、「わび・さび」に代表される今日の日本文化の礎を築いた功績は大きいと考えられます。
 そのような文化将軍の書斎「同仁斎」はたった四畳半の広さですが美しい景色を覗き見れる障子・付書院・違棚を持ち、花や文房具を飾り、和歌を詠み、読書をし、茶をたて、香を焚いて楽しんだ部屋だと言われています。
畳の間は、現代ではCDや本、フィギュアなどをコレクションするひとり暮らしの癒しの間になるでしょうか。
趣味は変われど、狭い部屋で美しいもの・好きなものに囲まれ、自由な時間を過ごす時、そこは自分だけの世界。
四畳半の空間は無限の宇宙と繋がる「装置」なのです。

 畳TATAMIシリーズの『国宝 東求堂 同仁斎』(2009)と『借家 高村邸 居間』(2009)の畳は実物大です。
決して安くはない岩絵の具や胡粉を惜しみなく用いています。
一畳の製作日数は約一ヶ月です。
二つの作品の製作日数は九ヶ月ということになります。
畳の目や縁といった細部まできっちり描き込んでいます。
『借家 高村邸 居間』の畳は、経年により黄色く日に焼けていますが、目を凝らすとテレビやゴミ箱を置いた箇所は日に焼けず緑色の跡が残っています。
よく座っていた辺りは白くすり減っていて、生活感がにじみ出ている様子を描きました。



TATAMI

In 1449, Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1436-90) was proclaimed the 8th shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate. However, the real political power was in the hands of his official wife, Hino Tomiko (1440-96) and his entourage, and Yoshimasa gradually lost interest in politics. Disputes over succession of the next shogun, coupled with the strife over the headship of the Shiba and Hatakeyama clans, became a cause of the Ōnin War. Although Yoshimasa was incompetent as a shogun, he made remarkable contributions to Japanese culture—known as “wabi-sabi esthetics”—because of his patronage of the tea ceremony, flower arrangement and the Noh theater. The Tōgudō pavilion inside Ginkakuji temple houses a tiny four-and-a-half-mat study room called Dōjinsai. The room has shōji (a translucent paper screen) for viewers to appreciate the garden view. Other furniture include tsukeshoin (a built-in table) and chigaidana (shelves built into the wall) to decorate the room with flowers and stationery, to compose waka poems, to read, to make tea, and to burn incense.

A tatami room can function as a healing space for a single person who collects CDs, books, comics, anime or action figures. Despite hobbies having changed over time, when you spend time in a tiny room in which you can surround yourself with beautiful things and favorite items, you still can create your own little world. A four-and-a-half-mat space can be a device to connect you to the infinite universe.

In the Tatami series the paintings “Dōjinsai, Tearoom in Tōgudō, National Treasure” (2009) and “A Living Room, Takamura’s Former Rented House” (2009) are both life-size, four-and-a-half-tatami-mat rooms, using plenty of lavish, natural mineral pigments and shell lime. The time spent on painting one tatami mat is about one month—it took nine months to paint both rooms. I did a lot of detailed work such as drawing the pattern of tatami mesh and the edges of the tatami. 

Tatami mats painted in “A Living Room, Takamura’s Former Rented House” are turning yellow with age from the light. If you take a close look at the lower left of the painting, you will see green marks where I put a TV and a trash bin, so that area didn’t get discolored, and the upper center—where I used to sit—is faded white. This painting depicts my old living room, filled with the reality of my everyday life.

                                      Translation by Eiko Aoki