【Emily’s Report No.02 エミリーのレポート】The Tenjinyama Dispatch II: Fox 天神山よりお届け 第2弾:きつね By Resident Artist Emily Clements 滞在アーティスト エミリー・クレメンツ

Report 2023年7月27日



Two days ago I saw a fox fold himself among the daisies, his eyes still lively among the mange; his little body was put together like matchsticks collected in a moth-eaten scarf. I see things, I string them together, I see if a story emerges; I call it an approach. I have seen the foxes watching the path from under the pines: I have seen them dart between the tombstones in the cemetery down the hill from the studio. When I first caught sight of one, my heart fluttered in fear: now, they feel like good luck. As a writer, I am in the habit of collecting signs that the universe is in my favour. Such signs can announce themselves quietly, so I need to slow down and pay attention in order to hear them. 


From left: Kayo Nomura, Austin Krauss, and Connor Greer


Photographed by Adam Thorman (アダム・トールマン)撮影


This week has been all about paying attention. I visited the shrine festival, joined the queue for okonomiyaki, walked the streets until my feet ached. I followed my nose to a bakery as old as I am. I admired local ceramics at Kanata and collected brochures for the many museums and galleries located in Sapporo. Back at Tenjinyama, I got to know the other artists and learnt about their practice. We held an ekphrastic workshop, where each participant added new lines to a piece of writing without knowing what came before. Unlocked from context, new meanings are generated that are occasionally unhinged but startlingly poetic. Together, we came up with lines like, ‘the answer to love is walking into a brick wall’ and ‘only Catholics know what is to be found in the frozen halls of space’. Before I even got started the pen exploded over my fingers, which felt like an accusation. This is why a writer needs to collect good omens.


From left: Connor Greer, Kim Soyoung


Photographed by Adam Thorman (アダム・トールマン)撮影


Currently exhibiting in Tenjinyama’s gallery space is Kim Soyoung, whose work lives in a fluoro-pastel colour scheme that is both harmonious and dissonant. Her paintings are interpretations of ancient Ainu artwork and speak to how collaboration can sidestep temporal limitations, even death itself. Some expression reaches through history. As an artistic individual trying to escape the trivial trappings of capitalist enterprise, this was a timely reminder. When Kim departed from Tenjinyama, she offered each of us a print of her work in exchange for ‘our favourite sentence’ as a means of establishing a new, more egalitarian value exchange. Words for images. According to the famous adage, a picture is worth 1,000 words, so Kim was very generous with her price. Still, it was really a challenge to decide on just one sentence that I favoured above all else; maybe a writer’s favourite sentence is its own category.   


From left: Kim Soyoung, Connor Greer, Austin Krauss, and Emily Clements


Photographed by Adam Thorman (アダム・トールマン)撮影


With Kim, Adam, and Austin, I travelled to the coast to see the Shakotan peninsula, famous for its unique hue. Adam is a photographer and Austin, another writer. Each of us experienced the landscape differently, depending on our own unique way of seeing. We sampled the exclusive Yoichi single malt from the Nikka distillery, had seafood for lunch by the bay, and ate as many cherries as physically possible at the Nitori orchard. We ended the day wading through weeds higher than our heads to get to a small, rocky beach from which we watched the sunset. It felt like a full sensory immersion: the saltiness of the ocean, the sweetness of the cherry flesh; the kick of the whisky and the supple flavours of the best uni in Hokkaido. I listened to Austin argue that art is not elevated or exclusive but is instead located in the every day; on days like these, it is impossible to disagree with him. The ocean painted Shakotan blue: a piece of art like no other.    


Written by Resident Artist : Emily Clements