Three adults wearing dark coloured coats are standing facing each other in an open space with gravel surface and backdrop of evergreen trees

Ise City, British Council

About the Ise City Residency programme

In October 2019, Ise City in Mie Prefecture and the British Council invited seven artists from the UK to participate in the Ise City Residency programme. During their two-week stay, the artists visited Ise Jingu and other famous sites to deepen their understanding of Ise's deep-rooted history and nature.

More than three years later, in January 2023, Matthew Rosier, Nicole Vivien Watson, and Jane and Louise Wilson revisited Ise to create new works. The three groups, who have garnered attention in Japan and abroad, gained inspiration from their interactions with the local people.

In February 2023, we spoke with two of the participating artists, Jane and Louise Wilson, about their experience in Ise and its influence on their work.

About Jane and Louise Wilson

Jane and Louise Wilson, who were nominated for the Turner Prize in 1999 for their installation Gamma, are a twin artist duo who work with photography, the moving image and film. Jane is a former board member of TATE and currently serves on the board of DACS (The Design and Artists Copyright Society). Louise is a former board member of the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art. They were appointed joint Professors of Fine Art at Newcastle University and members of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 2018.

Being inspired by Ise and its influence on new work

How did the 2019 visit to Ise affect you?

When we first visited Ise Jingu in 2019, we were struck by the beauty of its natural environment, which has been well protected over the years. In response to climate change, many countries are working to reduce their carbon footprint. As such, it was a very valuable experience for us to be exposed to the natural environment of Ise City. We felt that Ise Jingu exudes wellbeing and stillness, echoing the Shinto principles of respect for nature and peaceful coexistence.

What were your impressions of Ise after returning three years later?

We revisited Ise after having experienced a global pandemic. Although there were still some uncertainties, we wanted to investigate ideas of humanity through Ise Jingu. We also wanted to pay homage to Ise Jingu and Amaterasu-Omikami through a work that hints at sacredness and nature.

Please tell us about your new work.

Our experiences at Ise provided inspiration for our film that investigates humanity. The work incorporates Ise Jingu, the lush forests surrounding it, and the Ise Ondo folk dance. We were inspired by Derek Jarman's ‘The Art of Mirrors’ (1973). As UK-based artists, we wanted to connect Jarman's use of the 17th-century Baroque entertainment of "masque" (an art form involving dance and spectacle) with the traditional Ise Ondo.

About ‘A Performance of Entrapment’

‘A Performance of Entrapment’(2023) was premiered at the Royal Academy of Arts, London on 31 March 2023. There will be further screenings where members of the public can enjoy this new work, as well as a special online showcase later in the year. Read more about the new work on our dedicated webpage.

See also

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