The Museum für Asiatische Kunst in cooperation with the Japanese Embassy and the Japanisch-Deutsches Zentrum Berlin is presenting an exhibition of works by the painter Torii Rei to mark the G7 summit meeting in Ise, Japan on May 26th and 27th, 2016. This will be the first presentation of a site-specific cycle of fifteen paintings by Torii Rei, created exclusively for Berlin. In his work he has focused on the extensive grounds in which the shrine complex of Ise, which is intimately connected with Japan's Imperial institution, is situated. The shrine complex is close to the eponymous city, in Mie Prefecture.
The Ise Shrine is one of the most significant Shinto holy sites. Shinto is a Japanese religious practice associated with the numinous beings known in Japanese as Kami. Kami are characteristically manifested in rocks, trees and waterfalls.
The shrines dedicated to their veneration are always found in a natural setting, on which the Shinto faith places high value. Thus, every visit to the Ise Shrine is akin to a dramatic experience of the forces of nature: the visitor walks on a path made of light-colored stones (symbolizing purity), over a bridge (symbolizing a crossing), and alongside a river (symbolizing purification), into a dense forest.
Torii's cycle distils this experience of nature and translates the genius loci of this special site into an immersive painterly indoor installation. It invites visitors to examine the ideal of self-sufficiency, and of a sustainable harmony between humanity and nature, which the artist sees manifested through the Shinto faith.
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