and then along came Lu


Miriam Louisa Simons: detail from scroll - Lu

Lu,  220 x 220 

Detail from scroll  (980 x 355)
torn khadi papers, stainless steel gauze, acrylic paints
lurex threads, textured canvas, ceramic tile fragment


I dug out my Zen and Taoist texts, poked around online encyclopedialand, and found that Mu and Ku are Japanese words with – to the uninitiated – apparently similar meaning.

Mu: lit. nothing.  Space, emptiness, clearness, transparency.

Ku: lit. sky, space, mouth.  Three-dimensional void, sunyata, emptiness.

Wu is a Chinese Taoist word.  Lit. not have, without.  Commonly used to indicate not-being, creative quietude, letting-be.  Not too far out of step with Mu and Ku, it seems to me.

Then I looked up Lu.  Unsurprisingly it’s a shortening of Louisa, and guess what?  It means famous warrior and light.  I don’t know about the warrior bit, but I love the light.

And I love the way my work teaches me all I need to know.

a kakemono called ku

a kakemono called ku


Miriam Louisa Simons: detail from scroll - Ku

Ku,  220 x 220

Detail from scroll  (980 x 355)
torn khadi papers, gauze, acrylic paints, lurex threads
pottery fragment, textured canvas


How do you pull a name out of the wordosphere to title a work that has no conceptual basis?

Often artists resort to “Untitled” or a cluster of letters and numbers that would look more at home inside a computer’s database. I’ve resorted to using “Untitled” a handful of times, but mostly I find that the work will tell me its name – and its story too – if I am patient and empty.

The scrolls that I’m posting details from at present reeled their names off like tiddlywinks as soon as they had found their format – ie, the kakemono or scroll.

Mu. Ku. Wu.

And Lu.

Hmmm, thought I, what means this?

and then along came lu