Cross Letters

Collaboration with 李德茂/LEE Te-Mao

photo by Sasha Chan



Cross Letters


The work “Cross Letters” is a collaboration work between Kayako Nakashima and LEE Te-Mao. The two artists focus on the technique of 'Cross letter' and cross their mother tongues (Japanese and Taiwanese Chinese). A cross letter is a letter in which two separate sentences are superimposed. This was done during the early years of the postal system in the 19th century to save on expensive postage charges, save paper, and protection of privacy.

They usually communicate in English and do not understand each other's language. Therefore, they try to use their imagination to read languages they cannot read due to the Japanese/Taiwanese-Chinese parallels. They pile replies on top of letters they cannot read. From these actions they are trying to reconsider 'the hope and impossibility of communication’.

We cannot understand each other perfectly, but we strive to understand each other. Even if our languages are the same, the situation should be the same. In a world of pandemics and war, they are thinking about “communication".


Cross Letters


 作品「Cross Letters」は、中島伽耶子と李徳茂によるコラボレーション作品です。

二人は「Cross Letter」という技法に着目し、それぞれの母国語(日本語と台湾語)を重ね合わせることでひとつの手紙を制作しています。クロスレターとは、文章を重ね合わせて書かれる手紙のことです。19世紀の郵便制度初期に、高額な郵便料金の節約、紙の節約、プライバシー保護のために行われたと言われています。通常ひとりの人間が文字を重ねるこの技法にインスピレーションを得たふたりは、互いの文字を重ねて文通を行いました。