tomoko hashimoto



Quintet V : Five-Star Artists, Exhibition Catalogue

Published by Togo Seiji Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art, Japan, 2017


Tomoko Hashimoto

[translated by Robert S. Reed]

With the endless stream of bad news we are constantly shown, my thoughts turn to the distant future. The time when human beings have finally exhausted our Earth and the human race dies out. As it was with the dinosaurs, the age of our human species will probably not last for long. I have heard that after the age of human beings will come an age of insects. I try to imagine it. Some time far in the future, the Earth’s power of natural purification will revive it so that once again plants will flourish and the seas will shine. Winged insects will fly in the clear skies and in the ground beetles will squirm. Although it may seem like escapism and pessimism, after all this bad news that weakens the heart, it is curious to find the way I feel a welcome sense of salvation when this kind of imaginings cross my mind.

Though talk of an age of insects may sound like a preposterous stretch of the imagination, it is not an unfounded idea that comes out of the blue. The idea of a world that will follow the human age is possible because of what is known about the history of the Earth. It is the power of the imagination that allows us to think about what will follow yesterday, what our next move should be. Faced with disheartening news, we may not know how the problems can be solved, but we can imagine the feelings of the people involved. To imagine the feelings of those troubled people in the TV screen, we can learn about their background, get to know the realities. In order to imagine, to think about a situation more realistically, it is necessary to make the effort to gather information, and then put our imagination to work seriously. It is the same as imagining the feelings of our friends around us. Simply imagining will not change the world, but without the ability to imagine, I don’t think we can even begin to do anything.

Artistic creation is a process of repeated use of the imagination. I imagine the appearance of a display, I imagine the art works that will be there, I imagine the painting materials, the colors, choose the paint, apply it to the canvas, layer after layer. When I can’t get the color I want with the paint I have chosen, I re-imagine and then apply new layers of a different color of paint. This process is repeated over and over. Since I can’t see the actual display scene until that time comes, I go to see other exhibits in the display space, I measure the dimensions of the space, make model reproductions, gathering as much information as I can and drawing on all of my experience until now in order to picture it all in my mind. And, even if these imaginings aren’t enough to get the picture I hope for, I don’t give up, I put my imagination to work again. That is all I can do.