ARAMASA Taku Information

Info-News  -Japanese-
05 / 01 / 2014
-Annely Juda Fine Art- OROgraphy
Gallery: Annely Juda Fine Art
Schedule: 2014 / 27 March - 26 April
Access: 23 Dering St, London W1S 1AW UK



07 / 07 / 2009

Tokyo Gallery + BTAP


The Photo-Graph of Nonexistent 2009.7.8(Wed)-8.8(Sat)

Presented Artists :

ARAMASA Taku, Shigeki Yoshida, Man Furuya, Riichi Yamaguchi, Koh Myung Keun, Song Dong


Rodion Trofimchenko


1.ARAMASA Taku, blessing in forest 002, 2007
2.Shigeki Yoshida, 41st & Park Ave, 2003-2008
3.Man Furuya, No.032208 Seascape and The Moon, 2008
4.Koh Myung Keun, Buildng 9, 2004
5.Riichi Yamaguchi, 090112, 2001
6.Song Dong, Waste Not, 2006




Is Photo camera a toy? Is Photograph a trifle made by a simple push of a button on a mobile phone to catch a moment of banal reality? Present-day Photo-Shot is heading towards its most shallow and irresponsible manifestations, turning into being just a Snap(-shot). Eventually, the appreciation of Photographic Image itself becomes a "Snap-Perception": a momentary glance, which just perceives a "real" object in something that originally was supposed to be a "drawing with light", a "photo(light)" - "graphy(drawing)". While photo camera becomes a commodity, mystery of photography is on the edge of turning into daily game, photographic image - into the "visual leftovers of existent objects", namely into the garbage.

Tokyo Gallery + BTAP presents "The Photo-Graph of Nonexistent". Six artists from Japan, China and Korea exhibit works that draw attention to the imaginary side of the photography, to the virtual dimension of the media which is thought to produce just a copy of existing reality.

Our critical aims are, first, to present the photograph as an act of deliberate intellectual and emotional work in which the button of photo camera is pressed with philosophical attitude. We present photographers that work out the imaginary of photo, rather than catch a peculiar moment or bizarre object. Second, we would like not just insist on the "painterly" dimensions of photography, but push this claim to its radical edge, namely, to present photography that aims at picturing something that is nonexistent both in the daily reality as well as in human imagination. In other words, this exhibition attempts to present the photography of unimaginable. Third, "The Photo-Graph of Nonexistent" is the exhibition of works that through resistance to plain duplication of the objects bring attention to the photography as media itself in its historical or anthropological aspects.

The challenge of "The Photo-Graph of Nonexistent" is, while resisting the photography as daily life or garbage, to present works, which find the photo-imaginary in the daily life or garbage itself. In search of unreal we are heading not in a Church or UFO evidence site. In reverse, for the photograph of nonexistent we go into something that always presents itself as being very real or even banal, namely we are taking photo camera into the forest (Aramasa Taku), pay attention to daily landscapes (Furuya Man), approach body (Riichi Yamaguchi), observe city walls (Shigeki Yoshida), study old buildings (Koh Myung Keun) or photograph piles of old things and garbage itself (Song Dong). This is the way "The Photo-Graph of Nonexistent" overcomes "the photograph as daily life and garbage" with the help of "photograph of daily life and garbage".


10 / 04 / 2009

Tokyo Gallery + BTAP


ARAMASA Taku Solo Exhibition
「frame & vision」 -blessing in forest-

Dates:7 May (Thur) ― 30 May (Sat) 2009
Discussion:9 May (Sat) 15:00~17:00
ARAMASA Taku × Kinichi Obinata(Photo critic)× Masayuki Tanaka(Associate professor of Musashino Art University)


Opening:9 May (Sat) 17:00~19:00
Closed:Sundays, Mondays, Holidays
Gallery hours:(Tue-Fri) 11:00-19:00  (Sat) 11:00-17:00


Tokyo Gallery + BTAP is pleased to announce ARAMASA Taku’s solo exhibition
「frame & vision」-blessing in forest-


In this exhibition, ARAMASA presents works with an experimental structure that investigate human vision and the two-dimensional aspect of photography – a contrast to his previous work, with its strong documentary character. At first glance, his 「frame and vision」 -blessing in forest- series, photographed in the vast Fuji woodlands, seems to have had a square white frame appended to it, but a closer inspection reveals that the white line of this frame actually passes through the back of some of the trees. Tracing the white line more carefully, you realize that the massive installation (a sort of “trick” frame) that stands in this deep forest has been created by stretching a length of white rubber cord around the inside of these woods to trace out a three-dimensional trapezoid.



[About the works]

In this work, ARAMASA focuses on the particular characteristics of human vision and the photographic mechanism that transforms the three-dimensional world into a flat image. The retina that receives light rays from objects is a flat surface, and the visual information that human beings actually obtain from this is no more than a two-dimensional reflection of the world. The world as we see it, however, consists of the three-dimensional forms of objects and their positional relations as calculated and processed by the brain, based on the two-dimensional image projected onto the retina. In short, our vision and what we see is dependent on impressions and notions received from past experiences.

A photograph can be said to be a four-sided, framed cutout of three-dimensional reality. This “cutting out” is an extremely physical act that gives one a form of direct feedback or contact with the real world. The act of taking a photograph, too, cannot escape certain notions that have been formed by past habit or experience. In an effort to confront us with this question, ARAMASA places a white frame on the inside of the real-world subject of his photographs in order to draw stronger attention to the notional character of two-dimensionality and its construction. While the surface image of the frame in the photograph appears to be square, the actual frame itself is not; it exists only at the level of the real world. ARAMASA’s act of expressing this phenomenon is an attempt to bring to light the essential falsehood of photography. Using these experimental approaches, ARAMASA raises questions about the abstract nature of both the acts of looking at objects and taking photographs of them.


-blessing in forest-
installation of movie -blessing in forest-


-image structure-



On Taku Aramasa’s “Frame & Vision”
by Kinichi Obinata, Photography Critic

If you imagine what Aramasa’s creative process must have looked like, what comes to mind is a scene like this.

He enters a forest, pushing through thick, intertwined clumps of old and young vegetation, carefully observing the atmosphere of the mountains and judging how the dappled sunlight falls as it surrounds him. The ground underfoot is inhospitable, demanding. He willingly seeks out the instability and discomfort of wildly fluctuating terrain. Compared to his longstanding and continued attempts up until now to seize upon an expansive view of the world – a panoramic field of vision that extends straight ahead until the vanishing point – to grasp it within his frame and render it as an image, this experience is a startling contrast. What he is trying to perform here is perhaps an experiment in breaking away momentarily from the weight of accumulated tradition, and to attempt to rediscover here, in the chaotic jumble of the forest, the relationship of photography to the world.

Eventually, he decides where to fix his observation point, and installs his camera there. Specifically, he wants to capture the layout of this environment and the sense of perspective in the forest that intersects in various ways with the sheltering foliage while gradually receding deep within it. So he begins preparing for this project: to focus on the optical axis of a single lens, and then translate that field of vision onto the two-dimensional surface of his film.

Aramasa’s use of a large format camera – best suited to rendering objects in precise detail – in order to take shots with a great depth of field, attempting to enhance the sharpness of the forms and image texture captured within the frame, is a logical continuation of his past photographic ambitions. However, his practice, which has been almost fully realized in the context of his past work, remains unresolved within the forest. Here, the act of setting up a camera and deciding how to frame a shot was not about determining a particular outcome, but was instead equivalent to creating a sort of threshold. The start of the exposure process having been deferred, Aramasa returns to the scene once again to step inside the perspective of the preconfigured camera.

Once fully within the camera’s line of sight, Aramasa takes this as a starting point for proceeding to the next step. He begins by drawing out a single line in the real space of the forest. Looking at his work, this line appears to be a length of white rubber cord that gives him repeated feedback by carefully verifying the relationship between the angle and location of the film surface and the optical axis of the lens. This process of verification is carried out by pulling on the cord again and again, fumbling for the location of the fixed point and adjusting its shape. The line circles around once, closing back in on itself and causing a white frame to appear. If you trace the perspective of the fixed camera (and only as long as you do so), the form that emerges in that space should look like a rectangle with well-balanced vertical and horizontal edges. This form is, in a sense, a virtual rectangle based on and logically deduced from the principles of the photographic mechanism: a sort of abstract, assumed object that acquires real form within one’s field of vision through the extremely bodily act of stringing this rubber cord through the trees.

When Aramasa has finished setting up the white frame, he moves outside the physical spatial coordinates fixed by the camera, and slowly begins the film exposure. This photographic process, in addition to being a spatial record of the view inside the forest, is also a temporal document of the traces left behind by Aramasa’s line-pulling performance. These photographs deal with the state of nature found in the chaotic forest, and at the same time prompt a renewed awareness of the particular characteristics of camera perspective – its artificial, imposed order – attempting to bring this phenomenon to light. Or perhaps another way to look at it is this. What comes to the fore in this single, image-forming shot are two heterogeneous worlds: a multilayered site of production with an unspecified center (the realm of the forest), and a constructed visual space that functions as a system centered on an arbitrary point of observation (the domain of the camera eye). Mediated by the act of tugging on this white frame, the duality of this image emerges, maintaining a separation between these two worlds while at the same time producing a certain slippage across them.

Aramasa’s new series,“Frame & Vision,”ushers the viewer into an indeterminate state that refuses to focus one’s line of sight on a particular place. The wavering vision that you feel here is strikingly similar to the sensation produced when you peer inside a mirror – a flicker even more elusive than an ungraspable something that you cannot come to possess. Aramasa seems to have made this slippage a new source and point of departure for his work as he continues to rework this photographic amalgam of image and environment.



[About ARAMASA Taku]

ARAMASA Taku was born in 1936 in Toshima Ward, Tokyo. In 1940, his grandfather moved to take up an appointment in Manchuria, where ARAMASA spent most of his childhood. After Japan lost the war, his family spent a period of time as refugees before returning alive to Japan in the autumn of 1947. In 1979, ARAMASA was reunited with his foster mother, who had been separated from him and living in a refugee camp in Suihua City in Heilongjiang Province, China since the end of the war. This meeting became an opportunity for him to learn more about the lives of the Japanese orphans and other survivors who had stayed behind in China and were still living there. Since then, ARAMASA has exhibited several series of documentary work featuring portraits of Japanese orphans left behind in China, such as “Who Am I” and “Twin Families” (1990). In addition, he also started an investigative photography project in the Far East directly after the collapse of the former Soviet Union, publishing a series of three books: “Land of Silence: Siberia” (1995), a hunt for what remains of the Japanese army concentration camps that lie spread out over the entire expanse of the former USSR; “Land of Promises: America” (2000), which revisited the traces of Japanese immigrant labor camps in the US; and “Distant Motherland” (1985), a series of portraits of first-generation immigrants to South America.

Recent publication:”ARAMASA Taku Photographs-Apocalypse” (2006)


Tokyo Gallery + BTAP
8-10-5 7F Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061