Primal Mountain

Yuji Hamada

Translated from the Japanese by Ivan Vartanian

In March 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred. Afterwards, everyday life quaked in the unreliable information that was being released. The information that was broadcast by the media, the information that we received, didn’t match up to the reality that was before our eyes.

Around that time, one of my good friends sent me a postcard with a photo of beautiful Swiss mountains. It was so picturesque that the more I looked at the photo the more it started to look unreal, to the point that my brain started to register it as a two-dimensional drawing. I thought about how a photograph, which is meant to capture 3D aspects of the world, is perceived as something two-dimensional.

That set me off to find interesting materials that I could easily get a hold of. I settled upon aluminium foil, with its reflective and malleable qualities. From rooftops I started to photograph the foil with the Tokyo sky as the background. The point of shooting under a real sky wasn’t to pass off something fake as real. Rather, I wanted to make something that showed ‘real’ and ‘fake’ becoming friendly with each other.

With this work, what is most important is the image of a mountain in the viewer’s mind. In other words, it is not the maker of the images who establishes and delivers what is to be seen; rather, I surrendered the work to the viewer’s first impression, which led me to title the series ‘Primal Mountain’.

Harmonica Hare
Toh EnJoe | First Sentence