The Way of Shadows and 光 Light

New art work and Art book publications

February 2021

Extinguish, 2012 unique photogram

Project summary:

  • To develop a new body of artwork, using a trip to China and Japan in 2001, made overland by train, as initial inspiration.
  • To collaboratively create and publish two art books and to distribute them
  • To be ready to exhibit the new work internationally

I will be collaborating with the photographer Johan Goeteyn, who I met in the cabin of the Trans-Mongolian Train in the freezing Moscow station, 11.42pm on 28th March 2001.

Phase 1: Research period | Artistic self-analysis

Looking back over the 20 years since the trip, I have picked out some artworks that connect with the essence of my interpretation of the East, with light and material in mind.

The slide show starts with most recent work first and goes back in time to 2001.

In selecting the images, I have become aware of a subconscious sensibility I have, as to what it is in my work that has been inspired or informed somehow by the East, mainly Japanese aesthetics and elemental materials.

It seems I have picked the more monotone, primal works using elemental mediums. There is also a display of the truth of natural phenomena of light evident.

I would like to develop an understanding of this observation, through more thorough research.

Phase 2 : Making new work | Shadows and 光

The new artwork will be made looking at the essence of light itself and also responding to the influence that China and Japan and their cultures and philosophies (namely Shintoism, Zen Buddhism and Taoism) had and have on us individually.

Johan Goeteyn writes:

“My practice roots in a humanistic point of view, where man stands central, hereby questioning his role as an individual and particularly as a member of society.

Light has been my instrument, never my sole focus. Through the already historical companionship of Kate Beaugié, I developed an interest to study, explore, investigate the essence I’ve been so long been working with, as an essence in in itself.

Since, in my thinking, reaching to the other, in this case the person living in the East, through travel or thought, also implies the other may develop interest in reaching out to me, I would develop this investigation of the nature of light, or better said this personal exploration of light, against the backdrop of possibly to discover, disclose, to discern similarities between Western and Eastern thought, the search for possibly mutual influences, the identification of underlying common strains.

This would imply the study of elements of Western phenomenology, together with the reading of some basic texts of Daoism and Zen Buddhism.

To me, the way one perceives light, and shadow, light and shadow as a whole, is related to one’s world view, determined for example by language, age-old traditional religious practices, customs and laws. Those underlying factors set up a mindset. This mindset influences receptiveness, perception, and eventually emotion.”

Match strike, 2012, inverted photogram by K Beaugié

My aim is to make a new body of artwork, traveling over the substance of light as one might travel over the earth, sensing the terrain of the medium of light and shadow and attempting to record this through the process of photogramy and seeing where this leads…

I would like to pick up where I have left previous projects and develop the ideas further. For example, Match Strike, made in 2012, was made by lighting a match near light sensitive paper.

The development of new work needs a clear moment in time where other concerns are moved aside and a clear focus on the materials and discerning eye are forefront of my attention.

Phase 3: Journey to the East | Art Book 1

Ashford – Москва – Улаанбаатар – 北京 – 日本

The first book would be an account of our journey from West to East in 2001, using my travel drawings and diary extracts and Johan’s photographs as content.

A collection of my travel drawings combined with diary extracts:

A selection of photographs by Johan Goeteyn of the trans-Mongolian train journey, in chronological order, starting with the train attendant on the night of departure:

Phase 4: The Way of Shadows | Art Book 2

Using the experience of creating Book 1, we would select and curate the new work into an Art Book. The work and content will define the design.

Phase 5: The Way of Light | Presenting an Exhibition in Europe, China and Japan

The follow on project would be to exhibit the new work in Ghent, Bruges or Brussels where Johan is based, and then tour the exhibition to China and/or Japan, using contacts made from and since the trip, selling the books in the meantime.

1 Comment

  1. At a time when travel is essentially illegal it is good to be reminded of such journeys in a beautiful, calm and tranquil expression. Simple pleasures of a train journey into the unknown, it really resonates on so many levels.


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