Wabi-Sabi of The Sleeping Beauties

Wabi-Sabi of The Sleeping Beauties

In this body of work Kirsch offers a surprising, gentle, and completely unusual new way to look at abandoned automobiles from around the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula.

The artist recycles and transforms parts of the old rusty vehicles giving them new life. He manually screen prints photographic images of the wrecks together with words and other relevant elements directly onto the rusty metal from each individual car that is shown.

This work’s approach has a lot in common with Wabi-Sabi, a Japanese aesthetic and world-view valuing transience and impermanence. These qualities are generally lacking in our own western design aesthetic.

Kirsch’s perspective offers some of the richness available in these qualities. His work re-introduces them to our increasingly homogenised western environments, and touches on our spiritual aspect of being human.

We have a clean green image as a country, and a lot of old wrecks in this greenness. It is an environmental issue we only get away with because of the great ratio of land to people. While not loosing sight of this truth, Kirsch’s work goes on to discover the less obvious bounty of incredible beauty held in these rejected vehicles, and their amazing, out-of-context positioning.

Though not intentional, Kirsch’s viewpoint could be attributed to Wabi-Sabi, a sophisticated, long-established Japanese aesthetic celebrating transience and impermanence. It contrasts the homogenised environments informed by our Western ‘Modernist’ aesthetic, which generally denies that everything is relative and transient. In a sense, we cannot hold on to anything for ever. Everything is in constant change and it is illusionary to assume we could ever control it.

This truth becomes apparent in many natural conditions, and especially with abandoned Western design objects that are introduced to a natural environment and no longer maintained. As we can still recognise the contrasting modernist approach, dissolution becomes very obvious in this context. Being able to see this truth touches on our spiritual aspect of being human, and among other things it is this quality which becomes apparent in Kirsch’s work.