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The presented series Concept of Ma by Margaret Lansink speaks about life as a place of vulnerability and about recognising reality as a complex ecosystem of possibilities. The photographer opposes the Western approach to life with its fixed boundaries and defined edges to the more open, intuitive take on the matter.

The series Concept of Ma was created at the end of 2019, after Lansink’s residency at Benrido’s Collotype Atelier in Kyoto. She stayed at the Lake Kussharo – home grounds for the Ainu people, an indigenous tribe of Japan – and this is where the project was born. Moved by the naked beauty of the local landscape, the photographer connected to the natively Japanese concept of ‘Ma’. ‘Ma’ is commonly described as a pause in time, an interval or emptiness in space.

In this series of images of still Japanese nature, Lansink explores if a pause entails emptiness or if space holds a promise of growth. According to the dictionaries, the Japanese ‘ma’ translates as ‘space’. Linguistically, though, ‘ma’ is often used in phrases to mark stretches of time. Thus ‘time’ is expressed in Japanese as ‘space in flow’, making time a dimension of space. Culturally, ‘ma’ refers to the artistic interpretation of nothingness, often holding as much importance as the rest of an artwork. Lansink’s photographs aim to show that the so-called negative space, the empty space, is a part of a whole of a bigger picture.

Concept of Ma poses a question — does this intuitive understanding of empty space/time open any doors to the new landscapes? The natural tranquility within Lansink’s photography serves as a space for contemplation. The poetic atmospheres she creates might lead to imaginin