Karesansui, 2011

Sand, stone, moss, plastic frog, pillows, 35 x 700 x 700 cm

In traditional Zen-buddhist monasteries the enigmatic rock garden function as a symbol of Zen, which is not a religion nor a philosophy, but rather a form of non-thought that give rise to a certain form of acting. In the words of D.T. Suzuki: “Zen in it´s essence is the art of seeing into the nature of one´s own being...”. Or in the words of Alan Watts: “A way of liberation can have no positive definition. It has to be suggested by saying what it is not, somewhat as a sculptor reveals an image by the act of removing pieces of stone from a block”.
Sand and stones are basically the same substance in different stages of evolution, but can in their different form both represent water and mountains. In Zen meditation - the act of being in the present - the meditator metaphorically becomes a grain of sand in the endless universe, collapsing the imaginary boundaries between animate and inanimate matter. This mystical state corresponds to the scientific theory that - on an atomic level - everything is of the same material made in distant stars.

The commercial use of Zen in popular culture, from self-help books to business management are often comparable to kitsch. Like the commodification of everything else, it creates alienation which is the opposite of Zen, even though the opposite of Zen is impossible since Zen is the oneness of all things... And that just comes to show that words can not describe it, only rocks and sand - and a plastic frog.

- Bjørn Bjarre, 2011