Stillness in Quietude
A Studio showcase by Tobe Kan
Robinson College Chapel
University of Cambridge, Grange Road, Cambridge, CB3 9AN
Amidst the tranquil presence of vegetation, many chapels exude serenity. Conversely, the college chapel is surrounded by architecture. This led me to wonder: What if I were to relocate my blue plant paintings to this sacred space? Imagine them immersed in the light that fills the chapel, engaging in a harmonious interaction and invisible dialogues with the mesmerizing stained glass windows by John Piper and Patrick Reyntiens.
I am intrigued by the quiet state of being and the profound significance it holds. I am aware of individuals who cannot speak for themselves, those who are often forgotten or alienated. My work intends to invite viewers to contemplate their existence and the emotions they evoke.
I frequently find solace strolling through gardens, parks, temples, chapels, and cemeteries. Capturing the essence of the diverse plant life that thrives in these spaces through photography and collages, I then depict them on canvas.
In this studio showcase, I captured the plants that surround University of Cambridge and the Robinson College during this summer, to explore the impermanence of their short lifespan and the seasonal changes they undergo. Part of my work involves using colors on objects or backgrounds to subtly erase or indicate the presence of red bricks in the College. Additionally, one of the works imitates the colors used in the stained glass windows, establishing a dynamic dialogue between my artwork and the surrounding architectural environment. These visual cues are intended to evoke a sense of dreamlike scenery and déjà vu for the observers.
For the other work, I relocate plants from the glasshouses in Botanic Gardens and Kew Gardens, known for their controlled temperature conditions in Europe. These plants are placed alongside European plants typically found in outdoor gardens, deliberately blurring the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces. Through this intervention, I reconsider notions of identity, geography, and the cultural narratives associated with specific regions. By juxtaposing these plants, I invite contemplation about the interconnectedness of diverse environments and explore the intricate relationship between belonging, alienation, and displacement.
I often take walks here, embraced by the plants surround
Encounter various architecture structures in arch forms
Red bricks, stained glass in shades of blue. Chapels
The long blue sky, amidst the scent of grass
Where the sun gives rise to shadows
And the moon