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“Five years ago, Antoinette Nausikaä decided she wanted to observe mountains. In the middle of her frantic urban life she developed a need for stillness and solitude, and she was convinced that mountains were the place to go.
Soon however, she discovered that ‘pure’ silence and solitude were nowhere to be found. Looking for the timeless spirit of the mountains, she found fleeting traces of human existence everywhere.
She lived and worked on and around eight ancient mountains in Europe and Asia, each one of them a sacred icon and a pilgrimage destination. She travelled to Mount Fuji (JP), Olympus (GR), Ararat (TR) and the five most sacred mountains in China, the Wǔyuè. She observed them, climbed them, photographed, made drawings and dug in the earth for clay to make small sculptures.
And so, almost casually, her quest developed into an investigation and presentation of one of the most pressing philosophical themes of this moment: the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene, as interpreted by many authoritative contemporary philosophers, deals with the idea that man and nature are fundamentally separated. An idea that is a typical product of nineteenth-century Romanticism, but is now considered to be out-of-dates. After all, our human presence is omnipresent, visible even in the geographical layers of the Earth.”
Living and working on or near some of the holy mountains (Olympus, Ararat, Mount Fuji and others) the author searched for stillness and solitude and came back with photographs, line drawings and clay figurines; the colour photographs capture the hallowed subjects we expect from a trip to the holiest mountain on this planet, the stilled beauty of tree-covered rocky slopes, ancient mossy trees and trickling brooks, the incense, ribbons and other offerings left on these sites, but Nausikaä also captures the more mundane sights she encountered and she does so with equal attention to detail: graffiti-covered swings in a playground, a washed-up pair of trainers on a beach, the remnants of a cup of tea on a café table or a dog sleeping on a sun-warmed pavement, throughout the book Nausikaä offers short reflective comments on her journey and the sights and people she encountered.
The feeling you are left with having leafed through the pictures in this book, is that we should not just reserve all our wonder and curiosity for the objects and situations encountered on the peaks of holy mountains, but that we should also open ourselves to the small miracles occurring every day in the shadows of these mountains or in other prosaic, unelevated places, soft cover, 27 x 21 cm, 180 pages, ed/500, Ghent 2018