Gelatin silver print + mixed media, printed 2016 Size: 24 x 16 cm Edition: 4/20 Stamped, signed and numbered on verso
A white owl, facing us against a neutral background, stares inexorably
at the spectator. The bird is frozen in a hieratic position which may
remind us of an identity portrait.
Masao Yamamoto is a Japanese
photographer but his work is not just the one of a photographer, it
could also be seen as the work of a poet. This print belongs to the
series Kawa = Flow in which the artist explores the movements of
nature. These movements, whether they are fast and vivid such as the
wind lifting the grass of a field or slow and quiet like the cloud
moving forward in the sky, have one point in common: their impermanence.
The prints of this series, by the contemplation they inspire, would
therefore be analogues of haikus, traditional Japanese poems celebrating
the evanescence of everything.
Each one of these photographs
captures a precise instant of this world which is characterized by a
constant change. They constitute a form of meditation on the
alterability of our existence and the nature that surrounds us. In that
respect, Yamamoto’s work unites with the principles of zen Buddhism in
which he draws his imagination.
The artist said that he likes
keeping a form of mystery in his photographs in order that each
spectator can appropriate them and invent from them his own story. This
part of mystery dear to Yamamoto undoubtedly lies, at least partially,
in the timelessness of the scenes he captures as he dedicates himself
essentially to the genres of landscape and still-life.
subjects are timeless, Yamamoto’s photographs, which are monochrome most
of the time, awaken nevertheless by their aged aspect and their
singular texture a certain nostalgy of the past, the memory. The
photographer has a habit of reworking his photographs post-printing,
notably with tea, giving them a worn appearance but also a form of
unicity. Trained to be a painter, the artist carries out diverse
experimentations on the surface of his prints, thwarting at this
occasion the frontier separating photography from painting.
work, which enhances the benefits of meditation but also the research of
beauty as a tool of spiritual transcendence, is regularly exhibited
worldwide. His prints have notably been the object of an exhibition in
2018 at the Craig Krull Gallery located in Los Angeles. Many renowned
museal institutions, such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London,
La Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris and The International
Center of Photography in New York, count among their prestigious
collections some of his prints.