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Many more incidents lie behind my motivation for creating Lumière. I explore scenes and visions beneath my consciousness, trying to expose them to the light.

In my atelier, May 1993

Looking up, I found myself unexpectedly caught in a swirl of light that was beyond description. Divine! I wondered if I was really alive. The beauty came magically from a pile of broken mirrors I had left by the window. A mirror reflects the shape of the source of light as it is. The shape of countless spots of light sprinkled all over the atelier was exactly the shape of the sun.

At the third gallery of Angkor Vat, June 2000

It was the beginning of the rainy season. I finally got to the third gallery, the top of Angkor Vat. The sky was wide open before me, and the Indochina plain was endlessly spread below me.

The wind over tropical forests dried the perspiration on my face and even made me feel cold. While I was strolling around the gallery, arrows of sunlight shot into the dusky place and I witnessed how the stone flowers in bas-relief shone, floated off the wall and danced in the air. Astonished, I tried to understand what happened. Thick, white cumulus clouds were floating in the clear, blue sky. The sun was swimming wild among the clouds, throwing off piercing or faint beams of light. The sunlight came into the gallery through sculptured columns. Passing over the grooves on the columns, the light was metamorphosed into strange rattlesnakes of quivering light. And when the shaking light touched images in bas-relief in the wall (they are remarkably low, especially these at Angkor Vat), still images looked as if they were actually in motion. Each wall of the first gallery downstairs is decorated with bas-relief depicting a highlight from the Hindu epics. On the opposite side are the same sculptured columns as those of the third gallery. I almost jumped with joy at discovering this fact. The concept of religious complex for prayer that the erstwhile ruler had elaborated reached me directly through the ages. Angkor Vat represents Mount Meru, a paradise of the gods. It’s a huge, delightful installation of a man-made structure for ”animation spectacles” realized in collaboration with great nature. The right slides along the round surface of sculptured columns like rosary beads. The light flows on, filling the transverse grooves on the bulge of the columns with delicate reflections. Pillars with the form like cutout plates can throw sharp shadows. The edge of the shadows must be so acute that they are perceived as solids in our eyes.

An assurance I got at Shorin-In temple in Ohara, Kyoto, December 2004

A small statue of Buddha caught my eyes. It was about 70 cm tall, standing modestly beside a large figure of Amitabha, the temple’s main object of devotion. In the dusky sanctuary on a chilly winter day, the flame aureole of the statue gleamed pale, reflecting dim light drifting in the solemn space. The aureole seemed to be sculptured in bas-relief, coated with platinum leaf. The body of the small statue stood solid and stable, no matter how the light around it changed. The lower a bas-relief is made, the more detail of the light’s expression gathers on it. The memory of this day, four and a half years ago, when I encountered the light of wonder at Angkor Vat, came back to me.