Yusuke Yamatani, KAIKOO
Yuka Tsuruno Gallery is pleased to present Yusuke Yamatani’s solo exhibition, KAIKOO from October 16th to November 13th, 2021. In this exhibition he presents photographic and sculptural works that emerged from an encounter with physical materials such as dirt and concrete, and from uncovering the history of the land, the buildings, and the traces of former inhabitants during the demolition and renovation work of an old house in Yokosuka.
With his early series Tsugi no yoru e and ground, Yamatani approached the photographic medium from various standpoints, presenting works that evoke an awareness of the distances, desires, and passions that exist in the liminal spaces between contemporary society and the individual. With Into the Light he attempts to expand the scope of the act of taking photos by using an infrared camera to take pictures of the suburbs at night. In his previous work Doors he conjured the subconscious under photography and the complexity of the gaze by creating a performance of the process leading to the production of an image. He constructed a special apparatus that captured his own performance on the drums and immediately printed the images on site, filling the physical space with self portraits.
These performative developments in Yamatani’s photographic expression is rooted in a boundless interest in and the challenge of photography as a medium that purports to captures reality as it is. At the same time, they are linked to a discomfort with the unilaterality of an event or subject becoming fixed in an image by the intent of the photographer. While his interest in the confrontation between photography and reality deepens, and society undergoes significant changes due to the pandemic, Yamatani began renovating an 82-year-old three-part single story house in Yokosuka into a home and studio. Bringing in family, friends, and acquaintances, he began the renovation project from scratch, and in handling material like dirt and concrete, uncovering the history of the building and the land in Yokosuka, and the traces left behind by the people who had formerly lived in the house, he comes to find similarities with the photographic expression that he has been formulating. “Once again they see the light of day – these commonplace objects from the past, of no special historical value worth mentioning, buried in a series of renovations in the 80 years since first constructed. Far from inherited histories and traditions, everywhere these are stories unique to each home.” Although the house retains historical significance as the lodging house of the Japanese army during World War II, the artist rather uncovers and interacts with the subtle and plural presences and histories that have become buried under those who live in contemporary society, and creates new bonds and relationships through this work and its documentation.
The demolition and reconstruction of the house, which he found to be fundamentally linked with his own artistic practice, became a place of encounter (KAIKOO) with various people and things — the confrontation with material elements brought about by the creation of a home, with the land and history of Yokosuka, with the people who formerly lived in the house, with the soil and uprooted plants, with the wood and concrete processed by his own hands, evokes Yamatani’s photography which he formulates as “existing only through some sort of encounter.” In this exhibition, he investigates the way photography materializes through this relationship that accompanies corporeality and temporality; the way the reality in front of us appears as a vertical development, not only as a contemporary gaze of society but also as a locus of life.
Born 1985, Niigata. Yamatani graduated from the Department of Philosophy at Rissho University, and worked at Gaien Studio. He later relocated to Nagasaki where he met Shomei Tomatsu and other photographers from whom he learnt about photography. His recent exhibitions include VOCA 2021 The Vision of Contemporary Art (The Ueno Royal Museum. 2021), BEYOND 2020 (KunstENhuis, Amsterdam/ amana gallery, Tokyo /Galerie Nicolas Deman, Paris, 2017), Into the Light (BOOKMARC, 2017), Lianzhou Foto 2016 (Guangzou, China, 2016), KYOTOGRAPHIE (Mumeisha, Kyoto, 2015), and Yusuke Yamatani: Recent Works (Alison Bradley Projects, New York, 2015). He has published “ground” “RAMA LAMA DING DONG” “Doors” (Gallery Yamatani), and “Into the Light” (T&M Projects).
Date: October 16 – November 13, 2021
Opening hours: Tue – Sat, 11am – 6pm
* 10am – 6pm on November 4 – 7 during Art Week Tokyo
* Closed on Sunday, Monday, and National holidays
Tomonari Hamada (studio hamanari)