falling away | mono no aware

June 27, 2017

words by: Uma Ramiah

The Japanese phrase mono no aware (物の哀れ, or literally "the pathos of things"), has no direct translation or equivalent to the so-called Western psyche. Does it? It's an awareness and understanding of the impermanence of things - and the melancholy wistfulness that rightfully accompanies their passing - so often represented in Japanese (and other Asian) art and literature. There's a tenderness to this notion; something deep and melancholy.  

Inspired by the idea, the photographer Gabriella Achadinha and illustrator Marilize Eckard paired up to bring mono no aware to life through an eponymous, multimedia (and multi-city) series.

“The phrase has become an aesthetic sensibility in Japan, an understanding that this beauty can only be ephemeral,” Achadinha told Neocha Magazine. “Traveling personifies this - no matter how many photographs one takes, the more time slips and the less of that experience can be recalled.”

Eckard turned to acrylic paints to adapt Achadinha’s already richly layered photos of Tokyo and Seoul. The result is a series of ethereal, unsettling and vividly colored pieces that seem about to crack at the seams and melt into something else entirely. The impermanence shines through.

Like the literature of Kazuo Ishiguro and the films of Yasujirō Ozu, Achadinha and Eckard's photographs at once confound and calm, making peace with the inevitable passing of what they represent. 

Find these two artists on Instagram: 
@gabriella_achadinha_the_xvi | @voilent_vi