⟨ Art ⟩

The ancient memory between sky and earth

Enoura Observatory

Texts / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

藝術家杉本博司花了十年尋找興建江之浦測候所的土地,然後又花了7年時間興建,江之浦測候所終於在今年10月開幕了。

杉本博司形容江之浦測候所的所在地是他記憶的原點,在他最早的記憶裡,滿滿是自己乘坐湘南電車,自窗戶眺望著瞬速後退的大海。那裡可說是他心靈的故鄉。杉本博司的作品往往跟記憶相關,跨過了自己的記憶,然後通往人類的集體記憶,以往他透過攝影及裝置表現這觀念,而今次,他竟將之放大,演化出一組建築物來。

江之浦測候所位於神奈川縣小田原市,面向著相模灣。館內包括了展示美術品的藝廊、石舞台、茶室、休息室等等,其中最受注目的是名為「光學硝子舞台」的建築。舞台的地板全由玻璃建成,冬至的時候,太陽至相模灣昇起,晨光映照在舞台上,建築物與腳下的海洋融和為一,化作此時此地獨一無二的藝術品。另一邊的築在石垣上的藝廊長達百米,近海的一端往外延伸12米,夏至之時置身其中,有如飄浮在太陽之內。

「在遠古的時代,古代人有意識地做的第一件事,便是確定自己於天地間的位置。而這也是藝術的起源。生命再生的冬至、重要的轉折點的夏至、中途點的春分與秋分。細看天空變化而預測出來的事情裡,藏著通往未來的微小縫隙。」江之浦測候所,讓我們置身在天地之間,從新審視自己的存在。

Contemporary artist Hiroshi Sugimoto spent 10 years to seek the best location for building Enoura Observatory; thereupon, he spent another 7 years to build the Observatory, which was finally opened in October this year.

Enoura Observatory is located in Odawara, a place where Sugimoto feels connected to intimately. As told by the artist himself, “I owe a lot to Odawara”, precisely because his earliest childhood memory was set on the journey in the Shōnan train, where he looked outside of the window gazing at the ocean tides — this, is where his heart lies. Many of Sugimoto’s works are related to memory. His usual works use his own memory as a departure point to connect himself with the collective memory of the others through photography and installation art. Instead of using his conventional media, this time Sugimoto created a project with a greater scale, which is an entire building.

Enoura Observatory is located in Odawara in Kanagawa Prefecture, overlooking Sagami Bay. The facility features a gallery space, a noh stage, a tea ceremony room, and some other rooms. Among all the rooms and space in the Observatory, the one that attracts the most attention is the “optical glass stage”. Glass is used as the flooring, on the day of winter solstice, the sun rises from Sagami Bay and when it shines its light on the glass floor, the building will turn into an artistic extension of the ocean where the two appear to be seamlessly connected. On the other side of the building is a 12-meter gallery space extending towards the ocean that is constructed upon a cliff. Visiting the gallery during summer solstice, you can get a feeling of floating in the sun.

“At the dawn of history, when the ancients first gained self-awareness, their first step was to search for and identify the place they occupied within the vastness of the starry firmament. This search for meaning and identity was also the primal force behind art. The winter solstice, when new life is reborn; the summer solstice, when the great pendulum of the seasons swings back again; the spring and autumn equinoxes, milestones at the midpoint between extremes. I believe that if we turn once more to our ancient observation of the heavens, we will find glimmers that point the way to our future.” Enoura Observatory, situated between sky and earth, provides us a place to reexamine our existence.