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Unsettled Sets

Last year at the Nezu Museum in Tokyo I was able to see an amazing show on works that were designed to be hung in sets. Most of them were diptychs but there were also triptychs and multi-panelled paintings. The works had a variety of relationships to each other, some obvious, such as spring and fall, but others more subtle. One of my favorite pairs showed two characters looking for each other, each figure hemmed in by the borders of the scroll and unable to see beyond the edges to the other, also confined to his own sheet of paper, though just a few inches away. In Japanese waka poetry there are also a number of devices that function in sets. Kakekotoba is a word that functions with several meanings at once, an engo is a word association that relates to a known cultural event or image. Nonkadori is a line from a well known poem, quoted in the current one. I love the way such references are always reaching outward from the work or image, to a second thing that happens on the surface or next to the first. I've been thinking this year, (that we have so much time to think) how an almost almost constant resonance of one thing with another seems to grow denser as I get older. In the simplest terms, things landscapes, people. memories seem to be increasingly falling into patterns of relationship. This idea is at the heart of some essays I've been working on and would like to share parts of on this blog. I wanted to begin with some visual sets, that I've found among the photographs of various places I've been lately. I would love to hear of the resonances any viewers find.



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