Motoko Maio, Japanese, born 1948
Kotodama (“the soul of language”) is embellished with word-filled fragments of antique paper from books and accounting ledgers and layered scraps of red silk from kimono undergarments over a mulberry paper surface. For Maio Motoko, words have spiritual power: the assembled word fragments, having no meaning themselves, create a visual world of words. The pair of six-fold screens, a traditional functional Japanese form, are a superb example of Motoko’s screen creations. She has said, “Don’t you think that the screen is the material embodiment of Japanese culture? While a flat surface is being created, it is simultaneously three-dimensional. It freely changes shape and transforms space. Light and shadow can be created in the twinkling of an eye. It also communicates the sensitivities of beauty and in a physical form expresses the fleeting, transient nature of life. It is both a painting and an object—a bewitchingly ambivalent form.”
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