(Japan 1953 – )
45.5 x 60.0 cm image;57.0 x 70.0 cm sheet
The theme of windows and walls has fascinated Toda for some time. Windows link the outside and the inside; they are the conduits to dreams and fantasy. However the window is defined by the two worlds on either side of it: darkness on both sides silences the window's existence.
In this print, the glowing light beyond the window and the concreteness of the wall to the right, create a metaphor for Zen enlightenment. According to Zen teaching, Bodhidharma, the Indian prince who brought the doctrine of Chan (or Zen) Buddhism to China in the early sixth century and who is revered as the First Patriarch of Zen, attained his enlightenment after nine years of implacable wall gazing. In Chan texts 'wall gazing' became a metaphor for the inexplicable suddenness of enlightenment. Toda evokes this association through the quietude and mysticism of his image.
Toda now lives in Tokyo. He was born in Aichi Prefecture and educated at the Musashino Art University and the Sokei Academy of Fine Arts. He lived in France for a while and this experience deeply affected his own work.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 93.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 93, 104 (colour illus.). cat.no. 64
The Urban Bonsai: