In front of “Ghost Teen” by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
A Field Trip with Matsukage is a series-based program.
Matsukage visits exhibitions in museums in Tokyo, inviting an emerging young artist to accompany him.
The latest guest was Keiko Nomura who exhibited works at “TOP Collection: Tokyo Tokyo and TOKYO” at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.
Satomi Fujimura, the museum’s curator, introduced the exhibition that six photographers participated in, with the theme of “Tokyo.”
Takehiko Nakafuji studied under Daido Moriyama in his school years. Nakafuji first focused on cities overseas but he has turned the spotlight on Tokyo, his birthplace, since five or six years ago.
Shintaro Sato has been photographing the Tokyo Sky Tree in Oshiage and surrounding landscapes. The result was published in his photo collection “Risen in the East” (Seigensha). He has a strong consciousness that “a photograph is a record.” His work is characterized by how the focus is adjusted to every corner of the work.
Yasutaka Kojima studied photograpy in New York. His focus on landscape photography started when he took a landscape shot while wearing a blindfold during class study.
“I’m very much concerned about this landscape. It’s really chaotic,” commented Nomura. Matsukage added, “I don’t understand where I should look. That’s great.”
Keizo Motoda’s photographs look like portrait photos at first glance. In fact, he walks around Shinjuku and Harajuku, asking people to pose and shoots them with those areas as the backdrop.
“He captured the air of the town. He has been my friend since school days. He never changed his taste. I find a unique gap between men and towns. That’s his uniqueness,” said Nomura.
“A Day in The Life” is a work by Nomura.
Nomura presented works portraying women. “Once I focus on something, I keep photographing continuously. One woman, for instance, I’ve been portraying her for 18 years since she was 18. It’s very interesting how her face and body have been changing,” Nomura explained.
“This photo captured the subjects, giving them very good appeal. A foreign woman, a model in the advertisement on a glass window, this girl and the reflection on the glass. It’s a miraculous shot with four beautiful women in one!” Matsukage commented.
Kazutomo Tashiro does portrait photography.
“Tashiro’s perspective gives a different impression from Motoda’s, whose subject is also people in portraits. I understand that portraying ordinary people looks easy but it’s not actually. Also, their backgrounds are ordinary landscapes that we always see. It is difficult to turn these photos into artworks.
Also, I’m sure I definitely see such scenes in my everyday life but didn’t notice them until seeing Tasihro’s works,” Nomura commented.
Matsukage added: “It’s interesting that Tashiro captured a moment when one is about to do something. Not only his photos but his statement is great and powerful!
I realized that photography indicates today’s real Tokyo while it’s been changing its face as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach, and while redeveloping buildings after the Great East Japan Earthquake.”
Nomura said, “I wanted to express something universal while Tokyo is changing. There are clouds, people are born, morning and night come… I’d like to portrait Tokyo with such a point of view.”
They moved to the other exhibition, “Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Ghosts in the Darkness.” Hiroko Tasaka, the museum’s curator, guided them.
At the entrance of the exhibition gallery, visitors can see the sources of his works, such as cartoon magazines and films of ghosts. The corner looks like his archival bookshelf.
“Windows” is a video work Apichatpong created as his first piece. When he captured a television monitor by his video camera, he experienced a flickering. He captured that natural phenomena by moving himself little by little. This work is housed in this museum.
“Spaceship with Dog, Nabua” is a photograph taken in the village of Nabua in northern Thailand where a number of residents were massacred on suspicion they were Communist insurgents in early 20th century. Apichatpong held workshops with local children who have never known such incidents. They created a spaceship together and continued other activities over several months.
He tried to make a new image of the village, Nabua. “Ghost Teen,” which is the main visual of this exhibition, was also photographed in Nabua.
For the exhibition, the object was enlarged to about 4 meters wide and 6 meters high (original size 1.470m x 2.220m).
“Fireworks (Archives) is a single-channel video installation. He took video in a temple in Nong Khai in northeast Thailand. He captured a statue of an animal in the temple and exposed it on a glass screen. The founder of the temple was accused of being a communist during the Cold War period and sought exile in Laos. This piece and the way of this presentation evoke various memories.
Matsukage commented, “The images are seen on walls and floors over the glass screen. It’s an interesting installation and presentation as well.”
Nomura says, “I’ve been his fan and saw his films a lot in the past. This is the first time I’ve seen his exhibition. It’s simply beautiful. I didn’t know what was behind it.”
Apichatpong is well known and popular in his home country Thailand. He is a famous filmmaker but less known as an artist. He held his solo exhibition in a Thai art museum for the first time in 2016. The exhibition in this museum was made possible due to his own network, “Apichatpong Family,” which supports his activities worldwide.
After enjoying the two exhibitions, Matsukage consulted Nomura
“DEEP SOUTH” is a photo collection by Keiko Nomura published by Little More in 1999.
The photos were taken when Nomura lived in Koza, Okinawa.
Nomura was born and raised in the Kansai region but her roots are in Okinawa.
Nomura used to take monochrome snapshots, but when she expressed Okinawa, she changed her focus, adding personal views, and she took portraits and towns with mental scenery.
Matsukage admired her work, saying, “The portrait photos are good and the landscapes look cool too!”
Nomura was interested in works by Eugene Smith, Henri Cartier-Bresson and photojournalists belonging to Magnum. He moved to the United States during the New Color Photography movement.
To publish “DEEP SOUTH,” Nomura made a number of presentations to various publishers until it came out.
After this publication, she had a blank period for about six years. Around that time, she convinced herself she needed a philosophy to take photographs.
Matsukage looks at her “Soul Blue,” published by Silverbooks/AKAAKA in 2012. He says, “The paper is a mirror type. This photo collection is also great! Atami, the location is cool.”
“Nomura’s photography is poetic and private at the same time. I can feel her poems in depth. It is fiction but universal. That’s why it moves the viewers.”
Nomura recently photographed mountains to portray primitive things, apart from personal matters. She frequently goes to the mountains to seek whatever she can find.