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 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。
『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。


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