Memento Mori: Derek Jarman
Paper Type: Suminagashi: Legion Mulberry White 38
Paper Size: 9" x 9.75" X 12.5" - 12.75"
Image Size:; 5" X 7"
Edition Size: 18
Inks Used: Suminagashi paper - Sumi ink with Eucalyptus oil
Linoleum Block - Van Son Rubber-Based Pantone Ink: Black
For a period of several years I could not get enough Japanese cinema. I first watched the films of Akira Kurosawa until I could find no new titles. Then I found the other dire tors: Kon Ichikawa, Mikio Naruse, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Nagisa Oshima, Kenji Mizoguchi, Hayao Miyazaki, Takeshi Kitano, Shohei Imamura, and finally Yasujiro Ozu, perhaps the most Japanese of directors. I watched all of his films that I could get my hands on, then watched them again.
Ozu died December 12, 1963 on his 60th birthday and is buried at Engaku-ji in Kamakura. His grave is anonymous, a somber black cube bearing only the single incised character mu ("nothingness"). Cinephiles know who is buried there, however, and often pilgrimage to the site. There many leave bottles of saki in honor of Ozu's prodigious consumption of this Japanese spirit, much as pilgrims to Jim Morrison's grave at Père-Lachaise in Paris leave wine bottles or drug needles.
I made the Suminagashi paper by dropping Sumi ink carefully with a small brush onto a tray of water , followed by a drop of Eucalyptus oil, then repeating a hundred or so times until the surface is covered with lacy lines of ink and clear water. Then I gently blow on the surface, or drag a brush tip or comb through the surface until I like the pattern. I carefully lower a piece of mulberry paper from one corner onto the tray of water, and lift. A final rinse, then dry.
The ink swirls resemble smoke, reminding me of the ephemeral nature of life. The ashy gray tone makes me remember that I am made from ashes and will one day return.