2002 wood, acrylic each piece approx. 12' x 20" x 12"
Hell [Hεl] n. 1. according to many religions, the place where the souls of people who are damned suffer eternal punishment after death. 2. a state of extreme pain or misery, or something or somebody that causes extreme pain or misery.
Ji [∫ee] n. 1. Ground Goku [gõkoo] n. Land
Suffering after death is perhaps one of the most feared sensations of the human being. Only a few cultures accept death as a natural step that follows life. The western world obsesses daily with formulas and techniques to linger life, and when it is time for life to end, to bring it to a definite conclusion. Many among us fear a burial. The thought of being alone in the darkness of a tomb, without light or air, awakes some of us from the most terrifying nightmares. There is no salvation inside the tomb, no window to access or be reached by the outer world. A tomb is often seen as the antechamber to the horrors of hell. So frightening is frequently the thought, that perhaps in anticipation to the presumed fire, many chose to be incinerated here on earth after their death. The only truth is, that none of us alive, will ever know what hell is like. If it is the flammable place we imagine, if it is hot, or cold, lonely or dark. Hell is unknown to us except for all those interpretations that we have read about and seen represented in paintings or films, created by those intrigued by the unknown, who have launched into the exploration of the afterlife. Some of us anticipate hell by comparing it to instances of our own living experience. Confusion, hate, desolation, fear, pain, frustration, are all feelings that we translate into the burning flames. We occasionally in anger, wish others to go and remain in hell, their own hell, where we will never see them again, if we were to be condemned to their same luck. One wonders at times if there would be private chambers in hell, where if one has been evil, one may isolate oneself in peace from all other evil fellows. Or would hell be communal? And if so, how many people will we encounter in hell that we once wished not to ever see again? Will our hell consist of being forced to befriend the unpleasant souls of yore? Without the hope to escape or ever return, without a window or a door. Jigoku presents us with a version of hell were there is a chance for salvation. The powerful hand that bursts violently from a central chamber, and stretches across the room, navigates, carrying the beam of light that strikes it from above. Its shadow serves it as a bed, that echoes its form, and divides the bright ground beneath. Jigoku is the dark hell were we all go. The dark endless chamber where we are forced to cohabit and merge our fears, our complaints and our ultimate hate for everything. Jigoku is the antithesis to the blank canvas, a space to print our darkest emotions and liberate our disgust for existence or inexistence. The explosive expression of loath feels safe. The great hand guards Jigoku. It connects it to the other world to the heavenly, the peaceful, the possibility of Tengoku, the sky-land. Our mission in Jigoku is to feed its entrails, to deep our own hands in the white mud and strike its walls with force. To print with all our might the sorrows, the anger, the desperation and unbearable thoughts of existence. Jigoku feeds of these. Jigoku leaves when the soul lets go of death. Survival of the soul is possible in Jigoku. The great hand reminds one of salvation and the possibility of light, of the air and the alternative of life. Its long fingers stretching across are a bridge to reason, a way out of chaos, a path to a rebirth of the damaged soul. Jigoku is a station for the loath-full soul, to tear open its core and drain the damaged pieces into the common mud that would soon sink into the darkness to yield and welcome new arrivals of human misery. Jigoku’s hand is an exit to a world of life and rebirth, a bridge to the unknown and the ultimately the hopeful.
Jigoku installation by Hisayasu Takashio
Live wood carving, BPM Williamsburg, Brooklyn 2011
Live wood carving and other performances 2002-2005