The photographer Daisaku Oozu, who has studied both photography in Osaka and philosophy in Kyoto and now lives in Yokohama, has hitherto placed the emphasis of his work on the depiction of landscape, sea and light. In his forthcoming exhibition in galerie son he again takes these subjects up, this time also in conjunction with the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima. Since 2009 it is of special concern to him to convey his worries about current environmental problems artistically through photography. The atomic accident last year reinforced his endeavor still more. A part of the pictures which will be on show in Berlin was made a year after the disaster in Fukushima Prefecture. Oozu doesn’t take a journalist’s point of view: he rather shows everyday life sceneries beyond restricted zones.
The ambiguous exhibition title „Invisiblescapes“ hints both at a hidden (inner) landscape, at the invisible radioactivity and at the people moving in it in an absentminded way. The pictures are black-and-white, their light is undetermined, it doesn’t depict a recognizable time of day and looks slightly artificial. Because of this dark light, clouds and shadows, there is a lurking menace even in seemingly innocent themes. The titles make this plain and elucidate the danger, for example one of a picture taken in Iitate, Fukushima „Deathly silence in heavily-polluted area“.
Oozu uses themes steeped in tradition, as the flowering cherry tree or the gate to a shinto shrine, which both could be interpreted as a symbol for Japan, and contrasts them with the present day situation: under the cherry branches there is a big heap of rubble instead of frolicking people, and the gate to a temple in Nagasaki, damaged by the second atomic bomb that hit Japan in 1945, is just half preserved and now serves as a memorial. The drastic consequences of the failure of the nuclear reactor are thus compared to the havoc caused by the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In „Dumpsite / Niigata City“ – a photography taken in 2010 in one of the big port towns in Japan – a man is looking through a window pane onto a gigantic dumpsite at the sea. A contrast comes up between the lonely looking human being depicted à la Edward Hopper and a landscape that has been radically transformed, both visibly and invisibly. This landscape, be it the sea, the plowed-up earth, the piled-up rubble, doesn’t give man any longer a shelter, but has something alien to him. The people Oozu shows are the victims: the residents, which stoically continue living amongst ruins and chaos, and have to cope with the constant threat of a contaminated environment, an escape out of view.
[written by Verena ALVES-RICHTER]