Japanese Gardens

IMG 2048

In À rebours (Against the Grain), the novel by Joris-Karl Huysmans (who features prominently in Michel Houellebecq’s timely novel Soumission), the ‘hero’ Jean des Esseintes furnishes his bedroom as to look as cheaply as possible, using the most expensive materials. In some sense, traditional Japanese gardens are trying something similar: They are designed to look as natural as possible, but simultaneously without any flaws.

IMG 2032

Even the mosses are selected carefully as ground covers to suit their destined location. This is a photographer’s paradise, because literally every view is perfect. No fallen branches or other imperfections spoil the view.

IMG 1971

Often, these nature gardens are contrasted with rock gardens, that are minimalized abstractions of nature.

IMG 1982

The combed patterns of pebbles near islands of rocks or vegetation look like waves at first glance, but reveal a stronger sense for geometric abstraction when looked at from a greater distance. Instead of showing a physically realistic interference of wave patterns, we see a layering of shapes.

IMG 1991

These pictures were taken when I had the chance to stay in Kyoto for two days. This is a city of great tensions between layers of a conserved past and an unknown future. What unifies it is the strong presence of contemplation one can find everywhere.

IMG 2182

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s