The Artist Bookshelf Exhibition
A forest that grows inside a bookshelf… For the Artist Bookshelf exhibition at Minnano Gallery, I’ve created a bookshelf installation that brings the forest inside- The Innenwald Bookshelf.
The Artist Bookshelf exhibition at Minnano Gallery in Tokyo Ueno was launched with the aim of supporting artists during times like the state of emergency in Japan. Because of the COVID-19 state of emergency in spring and early summer this year, many exhibitions got cancelled. People were unable to go outside and had to spend most of their time at home or isolated indoors.
The exhibition connects with this situation in a meaningful way. The concept of this group show is the private bookshelf of the Artist.
• What do Artists read?
• What do they keep in their bookshelf at home?
The artists were asked to recreate part of their bookshelf in the gallery, or to create an artwork based on this concept. For this exhibition, I wanted to create a bookshelf installation with a forest theme – a bookshelf, that brings the forest indoors.
The Innenwald Bookshelf
Innenwald is word that I made up – a combination of the German words Innenwelt (inner world) and Wald (forest).
A bookshelf is like a window into an inner world – a world of thoughts and ideas, dreams and memories. My bookshelf with the title Innenwald invites you to travel through a metaphorical landscape – a forest that grows indoors inside a bookshelf, in the form of paintings, ceramics and other artworks.
Additionally, I wanted to share the content of my personal bookshelf with you.
• What do I read?
I have selected a few of my favorite books, my biggest treasures so to speak, but also some books that I’m a little embarrassed about, books I usually would want to hide from everyone. Nevertheless, these books are all part of my collection and I keep them in my bookshelf at home – some on display, some hidden behind old canvases and other random things.
My favorite books (currently):
- Hermann Hesse: Der Steppenwolf
- Rüdiger Safranski: Schopenhauer
- Ken Mogi: Ikigai
What books am I hiding?
You’ll have to come to the gallery to find out…
Hand-printed Book Covers
As part of the Innenwald bookshelf, the books are all wrapped in hand-printed book covers. A book cover can hide the nature of the book on first glance. It’s a form of privacy and anonymity. But it also sparks curiosity and invites you to unravel a little mystery.
For my bookshelf, I made hand-printed book covers from woodblock prints. The pattern features a forest, which I randomly drew and then carved into the wood.
The Meaning Of Innenwald
Innenwald (Inner Forest) is a combination of the German words Innenwelt (inner world) and Wald (forest). I created this word, to describe the concept of bringing the forest indoors. At the same time, it can also mean, to discover a forest – of thoughts and memories perhaps – inside yourself.
Innenwald Paintings (Pochade Box Series)
The pochade box was meant as a portable art studio, to be carried outdoors for painting in nature. In the spring of 2020 (unable to work outdoors or in the studio), I started using the box at home, where I discovered the Inner Forest.
The forest outside was out of reach, but another forest, the Innenwald, emerged indoors. With feelings of nostalgia, I started to explore it on the small canvas. The Inner Forest began to grow. The small paintings were ideal to be grouped together and to be displayed in a bookshelf. I liked the idea that the painting itself was like a window into the forest. But when placed inside the bookshelf, it could also be a screen that covers something behind it. A secret book perhaps?
Innenwald Painting (Large Canvas)
Innenwald Ceramic Vases
In an attempt to create ceramics that match the story of my paintings, I had already been experimenting with different glaze colors and textures for a while.
The collection of vases for the Innenwald bookshelf was originally made for glaze testing. I had been working on these glaze tests since autumn last year, and had to quit the tests in late February due to the state of emergency. The vase collection captures a moment in my ceramic laboratory, where I was searching for the forest’s green. A vase is a vessel that can carry the forest indoors – bits and pieces of green, twigs, leafs and dried flowers. But I would like to create a vessel that tells the story of the forest, even if the vessel itself is empty.
Innenwald Bookshelf (Installation View)
The Artist Bookshelf exhibition at Minnano Gallery is open throughout June and July. A selection of my Innenwald paintings and ceramics is currently also for sale in the gallery’s online shop. Please visit the gallery’s website for more information.
Minnano Gallery Website: minnanogallery.com
Minnano Gallery Online Shop: minnanogallery.com/artistbookshelf-sonjakanno
Explore my World
Subscribe to my Artist Journal Newsletter
and join me on a Creative Journey through Japanese Nature