Interview by Rufus Ward

amagoi song

What made you apply for the Kamiyama Artist in Residence program? (日本語テキスト スクロールしてください)

It’s a good question.. erm.. many reasons. One of them is that there is always a story in my work from somebody who I encounter and spend time with. Not like an interview more like doing something together and learn and that experience transfers into my work and I did a Dutch lady and I also did with my grandmother and I wanted to do it somewhere with obaachan’s, ojiichan’s in Japan. So, that was my wish and then I asked around and one lady who is Japanese who runs another residency; she told me oh there is a nice one: it’s called Kamiyama. I searched a little bit.. and.. I love it! How Nicolai san uploaded all the photos and comments and what’s happening in the residency and around Kamiyama.

Do you have a special method for generating your ideas?

Method? Technically or process? I first look for stories that I wanna start with, then collecting images and other stories around. Compose stories, then I choose materials and in the end the work is kind of… how do you say… not patchwork but… collected things. It could be drawings, it could be coloured, it could be sound collected into one space. So that’s the method, and drawing because I lived in Holland a long time and it’s difficult to communicate in language and drawing became my communication tool. But, now I’m in Japan and still using drawing as a kind of communication so somehow that’s (drawing) always a part of my work.

What do you enjoy most about creating art?
What do I enjoy most? Eh… Experiences by finding new ways, new visions, new combinations. I always want to try different materials and they way to put them together. And, when I leave the work I know a lot. When I’m making something I’m really into it but when I feel I can leave it I can.. like… feel I don’t have to hold it anymore I enjoy it very much. Sometimes I can’t be bothered to explain it to people. I have an ‘on’ switch to explain to people but, sometimes, I don’t even want to look at a picture. It passed…!

What does Kamiyama lack? What does it need?

Good question… Another restaurant? Yeah it’s true I’m already thinking about going to Awa Café for lunch again! In a way I don’t miss more restaurants so much. What does Kamiyama lack? Maybe, kids. There are many kids. Yesterday at the elementary school the kids were relaxing and they all know each other. They have a good wave, a friendly wave.

In the other school which closed (in Kamibun), it had already been closed for a long time and it used to have 800 students now just 8 to go to school. I like the way of living here, it is completely new to me: growing and sharing and you can be alone because there is a lot of space. Sometimes you meet and eat together or lose yourself.. I miss that in Amsterdam. That part I really like; it’s a treasure for me here I think. It’s how to continue, how to sustain it with the new generation… so kids… or… young parents. I know there is always an issue of new people coming in and the balance between the new people and the local people, but that always happens. They will probably find a way.

You have a kid. Good job!

How did you discover your passion for art?

It could be… for my art? How to speak to myself. There is no good communication between the things and things in my brain, in my head and that’s stuck somehow in my head; that I don’t know how to digest. I don’t always talk a lot, so doing art, again, digesting myself, digesting experiences and communications in a way that I am here and meeting somebody. I was an only child so always doing my own stuff by myself so of course, I do drawing. I did piano practice for 10 years since three or four years old. My teacher said now you must draw what you play. Sometimes really short songs about eating strawberries or something like that, and that experience continued. Communication between my piano teacher and around that time it was just beginning…

Do you think you have a particular technique/style?

Maybe some people decide what is my style. Pencil drawing… in a way it’s a contradiction. I want to avoid it, I want to leave it but I can’t somehow. It’s always comes back. So, that could be part of my style. Also, light. Natural light or artificial light. I always like to contain the work. The light of my memories or to bring back memories somehow. I said my work is about memories but the work needs the light. I choose textiles often because the textiles can contain the light or the let light go through it. It creates a different space. Light always. I need it.

Do you find art difficult?

Complicated. I was in school for a long time. Started in a Japanese school then studied in Amsterdam. I learned about methods or a technique and so on, but, that is very different when you live with art, like, making art and living. If I start thinking of the other world, like, the making art world the other part (living) is kind of sinking… Yer, difficult in a way. Yeah, always in-between optimistic and pessimistic, optimistic, pessimistic, optimistic, pessimistic! It’s partly nice… ! Really complex!

If you had really long arms for one month, what would you do?

Waaah. My long arms.. Err. Interesting question. I’ve never thought about long arms, only long legs. Ok.. How long is it? I’d like to reach to… I can see what I can touch? Yeah? I want to touch the clouds and maybe I want to dig into the mountains. As long as I can see what’s going on at the tip of my fingers. Yeah! I always wanted to go into the mountain but… I imagine what’s going on behind the trees and I want to let my hands go into the trees.

How do you feel in Kamiyama?

Oooh. Yeaaah. First of all, it’s great. Yeah. I feel there’s not enough time. There are a lot of things to enjoy. There is something, oh, not something, many things that I’ve missed in city life: relaxing, more close to life. Since I’ve been in Kamiyama I’ve started not bothering about what I’m really worried about when I am in Amsterdam. It’s a very different way of living. I wake up earlier in the morning.

How would you like your art to relate to Kamiyama and its residents?

Hmmmm.. When I came here there were a lot of rich things: objects, nature, and people. It was really beautiful and I was really interested in every detail and it was amazing; and the nature as well. So I couldn’t draw. I didn’t want to change the things, transform them into something else – it is already beautiful. So that brought me to doing the umeboshi portrait. I wanted to capture them and I wish that, maybe art, I prefer it when people experience it and the work itself is more about talking by people who are in Kamiyama. I really wanted to have contact, my work and the people. In the beginning, I tried to get as, much as possible, information and stories from people. So I hope the people thought a little bit that there was something going on, that there is someone doing something in Kamiyama. So, I like the artwork which relates to the people or.. Yeah, it doesn’t matter if you understand everything or not. I tried to keep it simple. By doing the art, if we could meet people, more people in Kamiyama and experience not as an object but more the experiences and memories could stay in Kamiyama and Kamiyama people.

Yeah, in the beginning I wanted to have a fixed thing; I thought it’s nice to have something permanent in the mountain which I’ve never done. But, I want this work to relate more to the people and their experiences.

If you lived in Kamiyama forever what would you do?

What would I do? Dyeing textiles from trees. The materials are here and every month there is a different colour from the same tree; it sounds like fun. That would occupy my time.


いい質問です。理由はいくつかあるけれど、その一つは、私の作品はいつも私自身が出会い、時間を共にした人の「ものがたり」が一部になっています。インタビュー形式というより、共に時間を過ごしながら、勉強したり体験したことが作品へ反映されてゆきます。そのような方法でオランダ人女性について制作した「マリアシリーズ(2010)」や、また私の祖母についての作品「GM House (2011)」のように、同じ方法で日本のおじいさん、おばあさんについて創りたいと強く思っていました。まわりにいろいろと尋ねているうちに、他のレジデンスを運営する女性が教えてくれたのです。「いいのがあるよ」と。「神山っていうところ。」それから神山について少し調べました。






私が最も喜びを感じるもの? えーと、新しい方法や見方、組み合わせを見つけるために試行錯誤している時です。私はいつも新しい素材を試し、それらを一番いい方法で組み合わせてゆきます。その作品が出来上がる頃には以前より様々な知識が増えています。例えば私が何かを創るとき、ぐっとのめり込んでいくのですが、私がもう手放してもいいな、手放せるなと思った時、私はその作品のことをこれ以上考える必要がなくなり、解放され充実した気持ちになります。作品について公共の場で説明することをあまり苦にしませんが、その時は自分を「ON」にするスウィッチを使います。けれども、時々、作品が自分の手から離れた時点でもう見たくないと思うこともあります。それはすでに過ぎたものですから。










例えば自分の作風を決めている人もいますね。私の場合、鉛筆のドローイング(素描)でしょうか。でもこれには相反する思いがあるんです。ドローイング(素描)を避けたい、止めたい、けれどもいつも戻ってくる。そう言う意味では私のスタイルのひとつと言うべきでしょうか。それから光、自然光や人工的な光。それらを作品に取り込むことをいつも意識します。光は記憶の一部であったり、または記憶を呼び起こす作用をします。私の作品は記憶が一つのテーマと申しましたが、そのような意味で光は重要な要素です。布も作品の中でよく使用しますが、布は素材として光を含むことや光を通すことができます。そのことで空間に変化をもたらすことが出来る。 光はいつも、必要な要素です。














text from Kamiyama Artist in Residence in-kamiyama