Many aspects of Asian aesthetics inspire me. In architecture and design, there is the use of transparencies and wood, sliding doors, the whole introspective attitude toward things, Wabi Sabi, etc. I started noticing my work had components of these aspects in it. I started studying prints and asking why they were so appealing to me – noting the different layers, whites, negative space, stillness, etc.
The Japanmuseum Sieboldhuis recognized these similarities and asked me to make an exhibition focussing on their collection. That’s when I started using more literal references to Japan, like blossoms, Kimonos and a more positive way of looking at the transience of things than the Dutch 17th-century Calvinist vanitas way – Mono No Aware, a slight melancholic feeling when realizing all things pass that comes with a desire to seize the moment and have lunch under the blossoms while they remain.
Kintsugi did not have a direct influence. The craquelure was already there but fits well in my reaction to the fragile Japanese prints that fade in the light. They are symbols of beauty and decay in themselves. And within the Mono No Aware idea, I also needed my reference to time. When exhibiting in Shanghai, I did get asked about the craquelure and whether it had to do with old Chinese dynasties and their porcelain. It all somehow came together a little bit.