Immortal Flowers – Rikka Shinji Ohmaki

IJlst
‘When I visited IJlst I was struck by how much the history and culture of the residents is linked with the water and with nature in general. I was particularly fascinated by the gradual emergence of the city from the water and the importance of the stins in that development. When I heard about the existence of the old stins plants, which had since gone wild, many things fell into place for me. What fascinates me enormously as an artist is that culture is something that is build up layer by layer.
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities
New cultural heritage
in eleven Dutch cities

It rests on a large substratum that does not disappear, but on which later generations continue to build. This is how the city of IJlst came into being, and the same thing happens in nature. ‘The lovely old stins plants are signs of that invisible substratum, and of the role of humanity in its development. I have based the fountain in IJlst on that combination of nature, culture and humanity and have linked it to an old style of Japanese flower arrangement called “Rikka”. Flower arrangement is also a symbol of the eternal connection between man and nature. ‘The flowers of the Rikka fountain are made of stainless steel and come in two different guises. A number of them are cut out of steel and are beautifully coloured. Others are sand-blasted on steel that has been polished to a silvery lustre, which is a reference to the blades of skates; these catch the light and reflect the colours of the three-dimensional flowers. This bouquet of flowers, colours and light rests on a vaseshaped support with a surface of water. The water is constantly in motion. It ripples, foams, sprays and plunges down into a large basin. Several handsome benches are arranged around it. The fountain is illuminated at night.’

Shinji Ohmaki (Japan, 1971) lives and works in Tokyo. Ohmaki is known for his colourful installations and video works, which have a strong physical and mental impact on the public. They often refer to aspects of nature and culture that we have forgotten. He has brought vanished flower varieties back to life, for example, by covering the walls and floor of a large hall with floral motifs executed in colourful pigments, which themselves gradually vanish the more they are walked on. His work is often deliberately intended to invite public participation. Ohmaki has a number of solo and group exhibition to his name in Asia and has participated in important international art events such as the Aichi Triennale and the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale. He has also designed a number of works for public spaces. In 2016 one of his large sculptures was unveiled at the Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioicho. He has won various prizes in Japan, China and the US.

Fountains