Madelon Hooykaas

Haiku, the Art of Observing

We are thrilled to announce a solo exhibition featuring the esteemed Dutch visual artist Madelon Hooykaas (1942): ‘Haiku, the Art of Observing.’

Over the past six decades, Hooykaas has explored various forms of media and cultures, shaped by her interest in nature, humanity, and Eastern philosophies. Her artistic journey began as a photographer in the 1960s, and she later ventured into video art, collaborating with photographer and filmmaker Elsa Stansfield. Their work is held in esteemed institutions globally, such as the MoMA in New York.

The solo exhibition of Hooykaas at IBASHO revolves around her work ‘Haiku, the Art of the Present Moment’ (2007), which was the first major solo work Hooykaas made after Stansfield’s passing.
The work shows a series of haikus that the famous poet Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) wrote during his travels and posthumously published in ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’ (1702). Inspired by Bashō’s poetic themes, Hooykaas composed the work from video sequences she had recorded during her travels in Japan and elsewhere, arranging them into four sections corresponding to the seasons. For each season a Bashō haiku appears and is recited in Japanese. The improvised music, performed on the shakuhachi by the Dutch musician and composer Ab Baars, has been woven into the fabric of the video, which celebrates the journey of life and the cycle of the seasons. The video is surrounded by prints from exquisite stills, chosen very carefully by Hooykaas.

The second part of the exhibition shows Hooykaas’ photographic shadow works that were created after she visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1983 and 1984. In the Peace Museum in Hiroshima she was struck by a stone staircase that a person had been sitting on when the atomic bomb was dropped. The bright light of the bomb had made the stone steps almost like light-sensitive photo paper. Only the shadow burned into the stone remains of this person. This was the beginning of Hooykaas’ fascination with shadows; Without light there is no shadow. Without shadow there is no light.
Some of the unique shadow works contain black acrylic paint that drips from the top of the image down, referring to the black rain that started falling directly after the explosion.

Artists: Madelon Hooykaas

Also happening at Haiku, the Art of Observing