Karen Knorr: Once Only Only Once
White Conduit Projects
1 White Conduit Street
Islington London N1 9EL
Opening Reception January 18, 2019
with the artist present
Once Only Only Once was made in Kyoto this year and exhibited in the Daitoku-ji complex in Obai-in temple in April 2018 as free standing Byobu screens made of cedar wood, mulberry, rice paper and silk, and combined with photographs printed on rice paper. These traditional screens were made by Heiando, in Kyoto in collaboration with Karen Knorr.
Karen Knorr will be showing in London at White Conduit Projects for the first time standing screens made in Japan this year from her series Monogatari, which she has worked on since 2012.
Knorr was invited into Obai-in by artist calligrapher and head priest Tagen Kobayashi. The title evokes a dedication written by Kobayashi upon meeting Karen Knorr during November 2017.
The titles of the photographs allude to Buddhist precepts of peace, harmony and the pursuit of happiness and to a 16th century teamaster Sen-no Rikyu. "Ichi-go ichi-e" describes a cultural concept of treasuring meetings with people. The term is often translated as "for this time only", "never again", or "one chance in a lifetime". The term reminds people to cherish any gathering that they may take part in, citing the fact that many meetings in life are not repeated. Even when the same group of people can get together again, a particular gathering will never be replicated, and thus, each moment is always once-in-a-lifetime. The concept is most commonly associated with Japanese tea ceremonies “wabi cha”.
At its heart – the practice of tea creates a kind, generous, gentle, loving heart. Soshitsu Sen XV, the head of the Urasenke Foundation (one of the 3 major schools of tea and a descendent of Sen-no Rikyu – zen master who formalised the practice of tea ceremony,) believes that practicing tea is a means to create world peace.
Supported by: Nishieda Foundation / Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation / The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation / University for the Creative Arts Farnham (UCA Farnham) / KYOTOGRAPHIE / KG+ / Atelier Matsudaira / A.Bliss / Bayeux / Heiando / White Conduit Projects / Naoko Omasa