Art on Screen Databasetm Full Record

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Alternate Title:
Original Title:
Series Title:
Edition Version:
Data: 16 min. col. 16mm; video
Year: 1989
Country of Prod'n: United States; Japan
Language: Nonverbal with English intertitles
Producing Agency: Program for Art on Film, a joint venture of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The J. Paul Getty Trust
Sources: Museum of Modern Art Circ. Film Library; Films Incorporated Video
Int'l Sources:
Director: Taka Iimura
Producer: Taka Iimura
Executive Producer:
Writer: Arata Isozaki; Taka Iimura
Camera: Hideo Kondo
Editor: Susan Brockman
Music Composer: Takehisa Kosugi
Art Consultant: Arata Isozaki
Addl Credits: Lighting Dir.: Gongen Nakaoka; Asst. Camera: Takashi Hosotani
Synopsis: The early sixteenth-century Japanese garden in the Zen temple of Ryoan-ji, in Kyoto, is considered a masterpiece of the karesansui or "dry landscape" style. The walled garden is composed of fifteen rocks arranged in five groupings set in a bed of raked white gravel. In this film, the viewer is invited to experience the garden as an embodiment of ma, a Japanese concept that conveys both time and space. Slow-moving images of the garden are intercut with poetic reflections from a text by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, accompanied by a music track composed for the film by Takehisa Kosugi. Originally, the word ma was used to define a distance between two points or two sounds. As a result, more importance became attached to the emptiness or silence--the spaces between--than to a thing or a sound itself. This concept of "time equals space" is fundamental to the arts of Japan. A film by film director Taka Iimura and architect Arata Isozaki.
Genre Film: Visual Essay
Aud./Grade Level: General
Suggested Uses: General Information
Subject Headings: Asian art -- Asia -- Japan -- Kyoto -- 16C
Japanese art -- Zen; Buddhist; Momoyama -- Asia -- Japan -- Kyoto -- 16C
Landscape architecture -- Japanese; Gardens -- Asia -- Japan -- Kyoto -- 16C
Assoc Concepts: Space
Artist's Name:
Artist on Camera: No
Reviews: AFVA Evaluations, Summer-Fall 90/Winter-Spring 91
Awards: Paris Festival Intl. du Film d'Art, 1991
Evaluation: Original, personal, disciplined approach to the subject, seeking to convey the aesthetic experience of the art work and to integrate a philosophical agenda with a visual one. Takes a difficult concept and explores it, making it visual. Very reductive, flat, and simple. The photographic simplicity gives clarity to what we see; the rigid, linear camera movements give us a feel for the dimensions of the garden but also flatten space. The aesthetic of the film is the message; it has the quality of an experimental film, a conceptual film--an art work in itself. Good balance of music/visuals/titles. If not as compelling for some viewers as for others, still rated as very effective. Makes one want to visit the actual garden and experience its spiritual energy. Technical quality, content, and programming potential all judged very good.

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