Friday, 7 January 2011


I was kindly given a copy of Leonard Koren's book about Wabi-Sabi by Frances' parents for xmas.

Wabi-Sabi is a combination of two Japanese words: Wabi, meaning roughly 'the misery of living alone in nature' and Sabi, meaning 'chill', 'lean, 'withered'. While Wabi refers to the spiritual and the subjective, Sabi refers to the physical, material, and objective. The term roughly translates as 'stark beauty' but there is no true English translation. The examples here, I have taken from Koren's definition in his book, which I recommend. Otherwise, there are good overviews here and here.

I only knew a bit from the internet, and this book is really helpful. I was originally interested in it because it seemed to be outlining aesthetic principles that I had identified with and tried to write about. I called a lot of what I've been making 'modernist' but there were a lot of places where my work did not correspond with that idea, not that I want to make work that is definitively anything.

I'm looking forward to learning more about Wabi-Sabi this year, and maybe doing some more writing after I've finished reading.

No comments: