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Helen and Colin David's traveller's view of Japan

— May 2015

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Helen and Colin David, Kyoto Kimono

Not Only When the Moon Shines

Living Quarters-Kyoto-Japan – an exhibition in London until 22 May

Helen and Colin David work collaboratively on Living Quarters, a long-term art project concerned with travelling. Kyoto is the second of four locations. Granada, in Andalucia, Spain, was the first.

The Davids live in a location for a quarter of a year, not as tourists but as travellers. They aim to experience a place from the inside and see things and encounter people in a way that tourism makes impossible.

Paul Theroux, the great travel writer said:
 Tourists don’t know where they’ve been; travellers don’t know where they’re going.

 In Kyoto they were invited into a home for blossom watching, they befriended a Shinto priest whom they met in the Irish pub, they visited a private Geisha house and experienced the tea ceremony in the oldest tea-house in Kyoto. Unable to read street signs, they had to use landmarks to get to their home; the nearby Pachinko King building was one.

Although they plan locations geographically, they have no idea how living in the chosen location will feel, who they will meet and how it will affect their creative response. They avoid capital cities, as these are too international for their purpose.

Martin Buber, the existentialist philosopher said:All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.

Helen and Colin's two rules for Living Quarters:

1 make somewhere your ‘local’
2 accept all invitations.

 They aim:
to be receptive, mindful but ready to be distracted, in a liminal zone at the edge of a portal to another world.

The work on show uses a variety of techniques: ceramics, embroidery, neon constructions, gunpowder drawings, 3D photographic prints, painting, silk screen prints. The display includes a seven-metre long Kyoto kimono, a mind-map of their time in Japan.

Helen and Colin David
17 Crinan Street
Kings Cross
London N1 9SQ

Monday–Saturday 10a.m till 6p.m. or by appointment

[email protected]

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