A conversation between Nakako Hayashi and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
“To become more transparent, to reduce the elements and to go in the direction of doing things slowly. To have more moments when nothing is happening”
Nakako Hayashi : When you were an arts student in France, was it true that, although the other students all seemed focused on New York, you alone kept wanting to go to Japan?
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster : Brazil and Japan; I am attracted to the two ends of the earth.
“The influences I had in Japan are so profound I cannot describe them in words”
NH: How does Japan appear in your eyes?
DGF: Japan is very special and it’s still very Japanese. The warm humidity that embraces the traveler, with its small places and rooms. There are some totally unique smells and fragrances. The amount of detail in graphics, objects, architecture, food, the landscape; it’s incredibly stimulating; you can zoom into things in many ways and there is always something to look at; a meaningful detail, like an unspoken text that continues on and on.
“There is a kind of comfort, of feeling at ease, of gentleness that is very Japanese, but I also like it as a place where I can’t read anything, don’t understand many things, feel isolated in a calming way”
NH: Is your artwork born from your traveling?
DGF: It’s not as simple as that. That might be too obvious. My art is born from rooms, spatial experiences, meeting friends in Paris, the books I read and the films I see, and, in the same way, it can be said that travel has another impact as well. For me, the importance of travel lies in the discovery of new cities, new deserts, new places. Discovering lives, finding information, encountering differences… There are many ways to do this. Travel includes the experience of time and space, language and architecture. Its engagement on so many levels makes it so important for me: walking, eating, seeing, taking risks, trying to understand things, getting lost, recording…