[Please see bottom of this post for a request and contest related to this book.] “Japan can be seen as the end of the world,” write Ivan Vartanian and Kyoko Wada in See/Saw: Connections Between Japanese Art Then and Now, “as a storehouse of all mythology that forms the origins of human thought. In its absorption of ideas from other cultures, it also becomes a repository. Japan, as the world’s future, is simultaneously the world’s past. It is a model of a small world getting even smaller.” Because it acts as a microcosm of world culture, Japan globalizes art within its own borders and even self-reflexively gazes at its own aesthetic navel as artists today continually rely on the artists of the past. As Japan itself teeters on the edge of disaster in the aftermath of the recent earthquake and tsunami, See/Saw offers the perfect entry for discovery of this continual oscillation in time and space that characterizes the often elusive Japanese spirit. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Small World."
[Image: Rei Naito, Being Given (Naoshima, Home Project Kinza), 2001. Earth, wood, stone, glass, bamboo, tile, mirror, thread, beads, stainless steel, aluminum, plastic, shell. Lot 197.71 sq. m., building 53.49 sq. m. Bennese Art Site, Naoshima. Image source here.]
[Many thanks to Chronicle Books for providing me with a review copy of See/Saw: Connections Between Japanese Art Then and Now by Ivan Vartanian and Kyoko Wada.[A REQUEST AND A CONTEST: If you liked this review (or even if you didn’t), please consider making a donation to help the people of Japan. Some of the organizations doing good in that terrible situation are Doctors Without Borders and The Red Cross. Please consider helping in some way. And if you do send a donation, e-mail me at ArtBlogByBob “at” hotmail.com to enter a contest to win a copy of See/Saw: Connections Between Japanese Art Then and Now by Ivan Vartanian and Kyoko Wada. Honor rules apply, so you do not need to send “proof” of a donation. Also, the contest is open only to U.S. residents (but anyone can donate, of course). Contest ends at midnight EDT on April 1, 2011.]