Kire

Kire means "cut" in Japanese. It is a fundamental Japanese aesthetic term that has its roots in Zen Buddhism. It's an "aesthetically cut" that appears as a fundamental feature in ikebana, Nō theater, garden-art and haiku poetry. In all these classical Japanese art forms, cutting off means cutting the oppression of the superfluous.

It is very interesting to compare that concept with the western modern 'less is more'. The Japanese concept is different, deeper and overall much more interesting.

'Less is more' comes from Mies Van der Rohe. Even if the architect first heard the quote from Peter Behrens, Mies was to return to the quote, again and again, making it his own. 'Less is more' was linked to Mies' efforts to reduce buildings and their components into simple forms. Simple forms which perfectly integrated art and technics. Geometry and matter. It is the perfect Western slogan for purity and simplicity.

But Mies’ 'less' is meant to be a substance in the same way we think asceticism allows us to gain better quality in life.

Kire is different and deeper. When something is "cut", the element that has been cut off continues to exist as a kind of “non-being.” The aesthetic cut reveals the true essence of the aesthetic object. It is not mere asceticism.

Our Western idea of purity and simplicity is outrageously superficial. And that's why we often strive to produce something which is pure, simple and yet light. "Light like a bird," as Paul Valéry wrote, "and not like a feather".