mami kosemura

Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons

date  2006
category  Video Installation
DVD 5-23min.(endless repeat), color,sound
  • Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons
  • Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons
  • Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons
  • Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons
  • Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons
  • Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons
  • Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons


  1. 2004 "Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons -spring-", ASK? art space kimura, Tokyo [1]
  2. 2004 "eco&ego" Former Shibazaki Residence, Kawaguchi City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan [1] [2]
  3. 2005 "Mirage on a Summer Day -Reflections on Nature by Contemporary Artists-", Gunma Museum of Art, Tatebayashi, Gunma [1] [2]
  4. 2005 "The country art exhibition in Ashigara",  Former Seto Residence、Kanagawa
  5. 2006 "Projected Realities : video art from east asia", Asia Society and Museum, NY [1] [2] [3]
  6. 2006 "NIHONGA Painting : Six Provocative Artists", Yokohama Museum of Art [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]
  7. 2007 "East of Eden : Gardens in Asian Art", Freer & Sackler Galleries/Smithsonian, Washington [1] [2] [3] [4]
  8. 2008 "Yokohama Art & Home Collection", Yokohama Home & Art Collection, Kanagawa
  9. 2009 "Mind as Passion:A video art exhibition featuring 17 new-generation artists from Taiwan and Japan", Taipei Fine Arts Museum,  Taiwan

bibliography & article

  1. "NIHONGA Painting : Six Provocative Artists" (Catalog), Yokohama Museum of Art 2006 [Explanation] p.9-10 / Tomoo Kashiwagi (Yokohama Museum of Art) [Photographs]p.44-51[Interview]p.78-81
  1.  "NIHONGA Painting : Six Provocative Artists (supplement)" (Catalog), Yokohama Museum of Art 2006[Comment]p.17[Photographs] p.18-20
  2. Daniel Kunitz "Asia's Digital Dimension"(Review),The New York Sun 2006 [Review/Photographs]
  3.  "Mind as Passion:A video art exhibition featuring 17 new-generation artists from Taiwan and Japan"(Catalog), Taipei Fine Arts Museum 2009 [Comment]p.8-31/Liu Yung-Hao (Shin Hsin University), Jo Hsiao(Curator : Taipei Fine Arts Museum) [Photographs/Comment] p.102-105


  1. "Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons"
  1. In the frames of “painting,” we transform natural forms including our body and see beauty in it.
  2. There I see our awe to unconscious nature and will to control the nature including our body.
  3. The deep and cold eye lurking in the painting is infiltrated into my film works as its peculiar texture.
  4. This work is based on Japanese traditional pictures -Flowering plants of the four seasons-. I takes pictures during the four seasons in Japan by digital camera. And, the audience can see various seasons and time in one frame.
  5. In this exhibition, I used fusuma (The screen to part each room in Japanese style house.) as frame which we see daily.
  6. I am fearing, but waiting to sit in front of it with the audience to see what odd and egoistic landscape will appear on it.
  7. Wrriten by Mami Kosemura
  1. "Screen Shots" East of Eden : Gardens in Asian Art, Smithsonian/Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery 
  1. Mami Kosemura arranges the plants that she’s brought specially to her studio, a room in her house she shares with her husband on the outskirts of Tokyo. She’s reinterpreting a traditional painted Japanese multifold screen using digital photography and video, taking a time honored art form and, through the prism of new technology, turning it on its side. For Kosemura, who admires the animating effects of brushstroke in Japanese painting, Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons is the first time she’s referenced traditional Japanese paintings in her work. Before this, she’s gone to the European masters, such as Caravaggio and Zurbaran for her inspiration: she’s made the still-life move.
  2. For Flowering Plants, she’s chosen the flowers, the grasses, all the colors of the seasons, and brought them indoors to work. Many of the young plants she bought in neighborhood garden stores, planted them in clay flowerpots, and grew them herself, marking their growth by shooting a digital picture, every half hour or so.
  3. When the process is complete, the person who stands in front of her screen—a riff on the traditional Japanese screen that often depicts the four seasons—will see the year collapsed in on itself. Perhaps that’s why Kosemura offers this gentle warning to people standing before her installation, “Please look very carefully because video work contains both truth as well as non-truth.” Maybe seeing is not always believing. Time lapse has replaced linear reality, and the seasons come and go in the blink of an eye. The plants begin green, flower to color, then dry, fade, and disappear. The seasons change, the winds come, moving the plants and dispersing the seeds, so that what appears at first as decay, also holds the promise of future growth.  In winter the snow comes and covers the landscape. “I don’t have a favorite season,” Kosemura says, “but snow does play an interesting part in traditional Japanese painting.” For winter, as well as for autumn flowers, she used a video camera to capture the images, then converted the video data into the photography format of the other seasons.
  4. The intersection between painting and video is nothing new for Kosemura who was born in Japan in 1975, and who studied painting, both oil and mural, at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. An earlier work, “Sweet Scent” was inspired by a still life by 17th century Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbaran. For several months Kosemura pointed her camera at an arrangement of fruit and a cup that she assembled to look just as if it came from the heart of the painting. Gradually, the fruit began to bruise, then rot, then decompose. “I also colored each image to look like a painting, and drew in it. The images formed by this method are documentary but also fictional,” Kosemura says, “In this way, the flowers and fruit pile change upon change in the name of "painting" so that even I, the maker, cannot distinguish whether a particular flower is real or fabricated. However, when one sees a video image one cannot help having a definite feeling of reality in the dying form of the fruit and the flowers.”
  5.       Similarly, Decaying was Kosemura’s interpretation of a still life once attributed to Caravaggio. Again, Kosemura arranges the flowers and fruits to look as if the scene was copied from Caravaggio’s canvas. But now the viewer gets to see deeply into the objects as they decay over time. Most people glimpse at a painting in a museum, or stand before it for a few minutes for a hard look. Mostly, the paintings change us, the viewer. But for Kosemura that’s not enough: in her work, the image changes as well. Painting captures a moment in time, while video can capture many moments—a whole cycle of experience.
  6.        That experience also includes an endless loop of sound. Flowering Plants of the Four Seasons was originally shown in an old house in Tokyo--the Shibazaki residence, Kawaguchi City, Saitama Prefecture—as part of a larger art installation. Every time Kosemura went to the house she noticed that the garden was filled with birds. “I often heard bird songs whenever I went there. I decided to choose this sound for the video so that the same sounds could be heard outside and inside the house.”
  7. Wrriten by Howard Kaplan (Asiatic ; Freer and Sackler Galleries/Smithsonian Institution)

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