SOTOROJI #0, 2020

Tea masters have long admired the mysterious and profound world depicted in ink paintings, and they have expressed this worldview in tea rooms and tea ceremonies. Tea rooms, including their gardens, are designed to gradually invite visitors into this profound world. The outdoor area from the entrance to the garden, called the roji, to the middle gate, which separates the mundane world from the mysterious world, is referred to as a sotoroji meaning a outer garden in English. Guests participating in the tea ceremony cleanse themselves of the mundane dust in this sotoroji and immerse themselves in the mysterious world, indulging in a higher-dimensional play.
The art collective "The TEA-ROOM," which expresses the materiality and spirituality that make up the world of tea ceremony using contemporary methods, interprets the symbol of the mundane world as "currency" and creates an installation piece representing the sotoroji using QR codes, which are rapidly advancing as a global payment method.
We view the entire airport as a large tea room and interpret the international arrivals concourse as the sotoroji, creating a process for overseas visitors to cleanse themselves of worldly dust and immerse themselves in Japanese spirituality.
By presenting an overwhelming number of over 120,000 QR codes, which one would never see in a lifetime, this work ironically appeals to visitors with the purpose of "explosive shopping," prompting them to touch spirituality from material desires.
The subtle variations in the size of the QR codes create an optical illusion effect, and from a certain distance, traditional folding screen paintings used to entertain guests appear. It expresses the vast and profound spiritual world hidden behind the structure and surface, which can only be seen when viewed from a distance and looking at the whole.
This piece was created using image data of the Important Cultural Properties folding screen paintings "Leopard and Tiger in a Bamboo Forest," "Pine, Maple, and Camellia," and "Civet Cat" exhibited at Nagoya Castle Honmaru Palace, with the cooperation of Nagoya City. Twelve panels, each featuring QR codes depicting Important Cultural Property folding screen paintings, were installed at equal intervals in the over 36-meter-long international arrivals concourse at Chubu Centrair International Airport and exhibited for one year.
茶の湯の世界を構成する事物や精神性を現代の手法で表現するアート集団「The TEA-ROOM」は、世俗の象徴を「貨幣」ととらえ、全世界的に急速に決済方法として利用が進むQRコードを素材に、外露地を表現したインスタレーション作品を制作。


QR codes, panels
150(W) x 200(H) cm per panel x 12 panels

Editions / Versions


Artist: The TEA-ROOM (Ryuta Aoki, Soryo Matsumura)
Producer & Director: Ryuta Aoki
Project Management: Keita Uno
Exhibition Design: Jiro Endo
Graphic Design: Takeshi Kawano, Sosuke Sugiura
Web Design: Takao Neko
Production Support: MINIMA
Special Thanks: Nagoya City, dsgarage

Past Exhibitions

Mar. 2020 – Feb. 2021: Chubu Centrair International Airport

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