Travels in a Paper Coat
28 June - 15 July 2018, London
TRAVELS IN A PAPER COAT
Nikolai Azariah, Chris Beckett, Isao Miura
28 June to 15 July 2018
A multi-media exhibition inspired by Matsuo Basho’s famous travelogue The Narrow Road to The Deep North. Combining film shot directly on location in the ‘wild north’ of Japan by Nikolai Azariah, with paintings, sculpture & installation by London–based artist Isao Miura, also a haiku creek of poems by Chris Beckett – visitors will be taken on an exciting interpretive journey from Basho’s 17th century text into contemporary visual images.
The most influential poet of Japan, father of haiku, Basho travelled like an itinerant Buddhist monk with “just my body and a paper coat”, frequently breaking down in tears at the beauty and pathos of what he saw.
The Paper Coat, which Isao has cut from Japanese Shiramine paper and painted the traditional colour of persimmon, not only represents a practical garment, it is also a symbol of lightness, simplicity and fragility. Basho’s purpose was to see and be inspired by the landmarks written about by his favourite poets of the past, a sort of pilgrimage called Uta Makura in Japanese. In the same way, this exhibition and the associated Walks will explore our relationship with nature’s beauty and power, also the enduring legends and history that inhabit the places where we live. Participants on the Uta Makura Walks will be encouraged to write or sketch along the way, and selected work will be displayed in the gallery as an ongoing part of the exhibition.
Private view 28th June from 6pm to 9pm
Isao Miura studied at Chelsea and the Royal College of Art. He was Fellow in the Bronze Foundry at Chelsea College of Art in 2014/15 and has had group/solo shows in London, USA, Hong Kong & Japan. This is the third instalment of his Narrow Road project, following exhibitions at the Poetry Society and at the Glass Tank in Oxford Brookes University. www.isaomiura.com
Nikolai Azariah is a half English, half Finnish filmmaker whose work centres around the idea of discovery, both in process and end product. He has spent the last few years exploring India, Nepal, Japan, Colombia and Peru while working on three self- initiated documentary film projects. He also works with artists and musicians as a recorder and director of different creative processes. www.nikolaiazariah.com
Chris Beckett is a poet and translator who grew up in Ethiopia and has also worked in Japan. His collaborative book with Isao Miura, Sketches from the Poem Road (Hagi Press, 2015), was short-listed for the Ted Hughes Award. www.chrisbeckettpoems.com