Satomi Edo

Allgemeine Konzept
New ground
Recognition of History - Hiroshima
...gestrige Anwesenheit
Lady - made
Von seidenen Fäden
Das Schloss - Das Paradies
Αund Ω

New ground

Early geographers, who drew the maps of Africa, used to put elephants, lions or other beasts of the desert where mountains, rivers and cities were missing („leaving a gap“), without being reprimanded. So nobody will be angered if in places where the gratifying, vivid and ever progressive science left us a void, we slide in assumptions to be addressed later on in the future. [1]

This writing by Goethe mentions a map that does not contain all geographical information. Areas left empty, „the gaps“ in this map-network, visualize the unknown, the unexplored, and they are filled with images and reflections of imagination. The making of such a map results from a process in between empiricism and construction.

In 2017 Japanese artist Satomi Edo created a world map from egg-shell by aligning smaller and bigger pieces, ciphering undescribed territories and spaces. She then proceeded to translate these reliefs into painting: in fine discreet colors the artist painted her egg-shell compositions on about 50 small sheets/pieces of Japanese paper. This work revolved around ideas of home, the loss of it, the search and rediscovery, about moving between places and feelings of belonging. Satomi Edo did not just direct her view and reflections towards »the Atlas« like Goethe, she revived the symbolism of an egg and measured its impact in her artwork: as ‘symbolic absolute’ of all creating forces, the „world-egg“, which …released the whole world, the elements, or sometimes only heaven and earth. [2]

Satomi Edo continued to fill this „blind spot“ or act in terms of „tabula rasa“ in 2018 at the International Women's Breakfast at Ahlen. There the cooked egg was literally consumed as well as its shell used to create more maps. One requirement of her guests was to dress in all white. This was representative of the empty piece of white paper which contains no personal information like heritage, profession, etc. The white clothing served as a fitting correspondence to the white plates on which the world maps were laid out.

Clothing and egg-shells shared another semantic connection – both cover the body´s outer surface, this cover only exists in defining terms of „the underneath“, defined in terms of depth. In Satomi Edo´s artwork „in depth“ we find what escapes our direct grip, what describes a deeper sense, a hidden message not everyone can access. The perception of a constructed topographic figuration and its representation is therefore fused with the audience’s act of reading.

One distinction of maps is that they combine image and writing. During the creation of Satomi Edo’s world m aps, no common symbols nor names nor other terms for defining places, nations or geographical sights were introduced. There also was no use of network quadrants or coordinates. This work created a new topographical „individuality“, without modelling a specific order of knowledge.

Participants found a white, round plate in front of them – on one hand a typical piece of table ware, on the other hand „tabula rasa“, which should become „tabula plena“. The task was to focus on questions such as: How do I see the world? What should a world created by me look like? How do I feel about my place of origin in terms of geographical distance to where I am now, e.g.: Germany-Japan? The „building material“ - egg shell was complemented by the participants with things like little crumbs of egg yolk, colorful blossoms and thin grass leaves.

Some participants created figurative-associative images of the world: the letter A, a street sign, a flock of birds in the sky, star systems, an atom with circulating electrons, or a smiley. Others did not let their worlds mimicry transform to something found in an „Atlas“. Those images became figurative models of geographic landscapes: some round or edged pieces of egg shell formed sculptural, bulged mountains and glaciers, hollows/deepenings became valleys. Different shades of egg shell in combination with blossoms and grass leaves gave those maps a joyful, picturesque effect. In all of those depictions you find imaginal world-space: „imaginal“ describes a specific, pictorial reality, different from the often used and rather derogatory term „imaginary“. Imaginal Space exists as a quality in itself, but depends on an action directed at it to be realized. Similar to a game which needs to be played to exist. [3]

[1] Goethe, Johann Wolfgang: „Gesamtausgabe der Werke und Schriften“ in 22 Volumes, Stuttgart, Vol. 2, p. 653.

[2] see Herder-Lexikon Symbole, Freiburg, Basel, Wien, p. 39-40.

[3] Helene von Oldenburg: Der imaginale Ort IV. In: Denkräume zwischen Kunst und Wissenschaft, 1991 Berlin, p.162; 165.

Dr. Dalia Klippenstein / translated by Christina Schrauwers