Tokonoma is an alcove in Japanese interior, usually elevated in the corner of a room. This empty volume is use for aesthetic appreciation and spiritual contemplation. Often there is a scroll hanging, accompanied by Ikibana (flower arrangement), meant to evoke thoughts about spiritual awakening. Although, these spaces appeared to be simple and 'poor', upon closer inspections, they are extremely thoughtful, complex, and intricate. The superficial simplicity is a deception, it is much harder to produce imperfect perfection then merely creating perfect objects or spaces.

In the process of developing modern tokonoma, additional objects were introduced to further this aesthetic experience. The everyday furniture typology: storages boxes, trays, tables, chair, and daybed are reduced to the essence. They are stripped of decoration, functions, and styles. What remains are pure materials and geometrical forms. The process of de-functioning these objects, leads to de-meaning the furniture typology. Therefore they are functionless, and meaningless, so they are 'empty', open planes for new functions, new meanings, and new relations.

What seems to be an object making exercise is in fact the crafting of a 'void'. In the process of creating empty volumes, and plain planes, open-ness is made possible for further exploring.


Yuill Crowley Gallery, Surry Hills


Images courtesy of: Yuill Crowley Gallery