An enso is a Japanese term for circle and is part of a zen aesthetic of spiritual mindfulness and enlightenment. An enso represents the entire universe in a single stroke, done with complete mindfulness in the present moment. The fresh, contemplative, spirited, and spontaneous nature of the enso has always appealed to me. The enso above is a more traditional one done by Takebe Seiyu (1941- ). Nantenbo (1839-1925), a master calligrapher, placed the following words inside one enso he painted:
Born within the enso of the world
the human heart
must also be an enso
My husband has been intrigued with ensos and almost ten years ago, spent an entire year making an enso a day as a spiritual and artistic exercise. He added gingkos, pressed flowers, and other pieces of nature to these powerful images.
Shinichi Maruyama has taken the enso to a new level. In his high speed photographs of black and clear liquids that he has tossed, splashed, and dragged into the air using a very large brush, he has captured the essence of zen mindfulness and the transitory nature of life.
His photographs truly represent a singular and fleeting moment, ultimate presence coupled with chance and impermanence. Maruyama says of his work, “Each stroke is unique, ephemeral. I can never copy or recreate them. I know something fantastic is happening, but I can’t fully understand the event until I look at these captured afterimages.”
His website is: http://shinichimaruyama.com/