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"wabi-sabi"

Centro Cultural Borges, sala principal, 2014

In 2009, I started on the theme of Zero-sum, taken from the mathematical formulation that there is just so much “stuff” in the world, that if one side gains, the other side must lose in the same quantity, resulting in… Zero-sum.
This mentality, I saw, had been taken over by the communal concept that between persons (groups, religions political parties, countries you name it) one must win and one must lose. I had planned, for my forthcoming solo show at the Centro Cultural Borges in Buenos Aires, to expand on this theme.
However, while in the Far East early this year, I visited a Buddhist monastery in Hong Kong, one of the busiest, noisiest, most capitalistic spaces in the world.

And yet, there, in the middle of this fantastically modern, assertive city state, reachable by subway and yet mystically wrapped in its own aura, was this magical, tranquil, lonely and lovely home of simply dressed monks, working in their gardens in silent harmony, overpowering in its simplicity, transcendentally magnificent.
The impression followed me through the States and then to Argentina.

In my readings, I discovered by myself, the concept of wabi-sabi, an idea and an ideal which is almost too subtle for words, for which reason I have chosen to paint it.
An acquaintance pictured wabi-sabi to me as monks raking the leaves from the ground, collecting every fallen one, and then scattering just a few back, because nothing is permanent, all life ends, and perfection does not exist.
Wabi-sabi acknowledges, indeed gracefully accepts, that there are but three realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect. What absolute beauty there is in this, what grace, what tranquility…

Erik
Buenos Aires, October 2013