Two artists, both inspired by 13th century Japanese poet Kamo no Chōmei.

Update: Feb. 16, 11:30 am: Quotes by Yuka Otani added.*

Japanese artist aricoco’s shelter/installation RUNawayHOME, which came down on Feb. 12 at Real Art Ways, was inspired by 13th century Japanese poet Kamo no Chōmei's (Chomei Kamono) essay Hōjōki, an account of his retreat to a remote ten-foot-square hut and his reflections on various natural disasters and tumult he had witnessed.


But just as aricoco’s work comes down, Japanese artist Yuka Otani's went on view at Camel Art Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. From Camel’s website: The installation was “inspired by “Hojoki,” an essay by Chomei Kamono: a Japanese 13th century poet who expresses the sense of mujokan (impermanence) during medieval age of wars and disasters.”

Yuka Otani installation detail

Though both artists (who are Brooklyn/NYC-based) address the themes in Kamo no Chōmei’s work differently - for aricoco, the safety and solitude one may pine for in times of crisis, and Otani, the ephemerality of life through “simultaneously emphasizing both presence and absence,” she writes - the coincidence indicates a new genre of works influenced by the March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and the nuclear disaster it precipitated.

"After encountering the horrifying earthquake and tsunami last March, I think Hojoki is such an appropriate and timely thing to revisit…. with a feeling of awe," Otani wrote in an email. "Though Hojoki was written almost 1000 years ago, it still feels so vivid to me.”*

Read a translation of Hojoki suggested by Otani.

Yuka Otani’s work is on display through March 11 at Camel Art Space: Weekends only: 1 – 6 pm or by appointment. 722 Metropolitan Ave. 2nd Fl., Brooklyn NY 11237


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