Zen and the art of water tossing

Two hands, a glass of water and, sometimes, ink, a Phase One P45 camera and a Broncolor Strobe–these are the tools with which Shinichi Maruyama, a Japanese artist living in New York, captures the ephemeral motion of water through air to create what he calls “water sculptures.”

In some of his still photography, as in the series Gardens, the water shapes become delicate extraterrestrial insects or swirling lines suspended in space. “It is said that a Zen garden represents in a three-dimensional space the spirits of high priests who have achieved enlightenment,” he says in an artist’s statement. “Although I am still far from those enlightened monks who labor in nature, my actions of repeatedly throwing liquid into the air and photographing the resulting shapes and sculptural formations over and over—endlessly—could be considered a form of spiritual practice to find personal enlightenment.”

The video piece Kusho derives from his student practices in sumi ink writing. Its meditative quality is heightened by the silence in which the images patiently unscroll:

In the current water pieces, as in his early forays with ink, brush and empty paper, “Each stroke is unique, ephemeral. I can never copy or recreate them. I know something fantastic is happening, ‘a decisive moment,’ but I can’t fully understand the event until I look at these captured afterimages, these paintings in the sky.”

Videos © by Shinichi Maruyama, composited by Tetsushi Wakasugi, and embedded from http://www.vimeo.com.

About Diana Rico

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This entry was posted in photography, sculpture, video and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Zen and the art of water tossing

  1. Water flows . . . watching the imagery was more mesmerizing than TV.

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