The site-specific installation is inspired by the Japanese writer Junichiro Tanizaki’s In Praise of Shadows. The exhibition space of the King Stephen Museum in Országzászló Square is an extremely bright space because of its characteristic skylights, and this makes it a very calming space, as Tanizaki explains in his essay. Light enters the space through 24 windows in the ceiling – these 24 windows are central to the installation. To counterbalance the brightness of the space, Koós places a surface opposite the light, i.e. the windows, which can absorb as much light as possible. A radical gesture that raises questions about how the aura of an entire space can change.
“The Japanese tradition is ohaguro, the blackening of the teeth. As a result, I call these blackened prints ohaguro paintings. One of the main reasons for the development of ohaguro as a custom is that for centuries, blackened objects were considered extremely beautiful. And it is natural that people wanted to get as close as possible to what they considered beautiful – think of it today, teeth whitening is considered perfectly normal.
I am convinced that it is inevitable that we face the darkness and the shadows. By embracing them, accepting them and being with them without trying to overcome them with light, we can tame them and become friends. I see the beauty in the darkest room, in the darkest shadows, which then give a new quality to what I thought was the darkest possible.”