Jacqueline Hassink’s View, Kyoto, is a serene and powerful series of photographs depicting 34 of Kyoto’s 1,600 Zen Buddhist temples and gardens, captured over the past 10 years and across the course of the seasons. Hassink’s works bring a human point of view to these linear, dynamic environments as her lens is positioned at standing height or as if sitting on the tatami mat, pausing in doorways and upon the veranda between temple and garden.
These images reveal sacred places – almost straining with rigid silence – the tension furthered by a constant play between sharp interior architecture and the soft blur of each temple’s gentle garden space. These gardens are seen through thick mists, their colours deep and mute; this is juxtaposed by the bold browns, golds and whites of the temple spaces – interrupted here and there by a spot or stripe of red.
Although in strong contrast, neither of these spaces – the temple or garden, the human and the natural – could exist without the other and in their quietude these images convey a sense of unity and peace. To further this effect, is a film diptych on view in the gallery’s project space that interviews the head monks of four temples as they journey from interior to exterior and discuss the movement from public to private, secular to sacred spaces.
Jacqueline Hassink: View, Kyoto, until May 9, Benrubi Gallery, 521 West 26th Street, 2nd Floor, New York.
For more, visit www.benrubigallery.com.
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1. Jacqueline Hassink, Hōsen-in 1, summer, Northeast Kyoto, 29 June 2004 (16:00-17.30). Courtesy of Benrubi Gallery.