Nobuo Sekine, Phase of Nothingness-Water, 1969/2005
Caravaggio, Narcissus, 1597-1599
Liquid reflections: Caravaggio vs. Japanese Contemporary Art.
Nobuo Sekine, (Japanese b.1942) Phase of Nothingness-Water, 1969/2005, Steel, Lacquer, Water. Punta della Dogana, Venice.
Part of Japanese art movement, “Mono-ha” (School of Things) exploring movement and raw materials by incorporating the natural world into their work.
Caravaggio , Narcissus, 1597-99.
The story from classical mythology told by the poet Ovid in his Metamorphoses, is of a handsome youth who falls in love with his own reflection and unable to leave it, dies.
Removing the historical context of these works and taking the meaning directly from representation, there is a sense of entrapment that emerges. In Caravaggio’s painting, Narcissus is locked in his reflection, while in Phase of Nothingness it is the water that is trapped in the steel containers. It is a still pool of water that only comes alive with movement when approached by the spectator.