15 min., 2017
Borrowed Scenery (借景 shakkei) is the East Asian principle of integrating the surrounding landscape into the composition of a garden. Since the 1970s, artist Noriyuki Haraguchi (1946—2020) had made a series of in-situ sculptures that aim at acquiring meaning through their thoughtful placement in their surroundings. In 1977, Haraguchi was invited to permanently install an iteration of his sculpture Matter and Mind (Oil Pool) in the atrium of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Matter and Mind is a rectangular steel basin filled with highly reflective used engine oil. Regardless of the artist’s intentions and those of the host museum, the visitors have, over the years, turned this sculpture into a container for smaller objects by throwing coins and other objects into it. The film follows the genesis of Haraguchi’s oil pool sculptures, his use of ephemeral and industrial materials, the interactions with his oil pools in Tehran and elsewhere and the proximity of art to religion and other belief systems.