Takashi Kawashina, Unfinished Topography
Kawashima was born in 1985, Miyagi prefecture. Since graduating from Tokyo Polytechnic University with a master’s degree, he has been active in the field of photography including being selected for Art Award Tokyo Marunouchi 2011, winning the Grand Prize at Tokyo Frontline Photo Award 2012, and participating in Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
The photo book received the jury prize in Art division at Japan Media Arts Festival 2015.
In Unfinished Topography / Collection, the ethereal photographs of Takashi Kawashima exist in another world. A world imagined as post catastrophe, devoid of humans. It is a world having succumbed to earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis; the natural disasters that wrench us unforgivingly from our precarious place on the earth. The unrelenting, seismic activity that befell Japan recently, surely can’t help but remind us of the fragility of human existence. Through a beautifully sombre depiction of the landscape, seemingly damaged found photographs, coarse black and white staging with appearances of ash-strewn, Pompeii-esque figures, Kawashima taps into our delicate mortality.
Process becomes central to the development of these works, however, instead of chemical and physical techniques, Kawashima, unashamedly utilises Photoshop to create a kind of digital alchemy, where processes of overlaying are employed, simulating manual manipulation. Deconstructing the original image becomes a reconstruction of something else until the artist intuitively senses efficacy. In the series Map Attracts Me More than Territory (2014), Kawashima builds his own camera and uses legacy computer and software technology to superimpose multiple images with his text, referencing and mimicking Jed Martin’s character in Michel Houellebecq’s La Carte et le Territoire, a novel which seeks to question the nature of representation. Kawashima’s title suggests his preference for representation over the represented and his fascination in presenting a number of possibilities over a pre-defined, single photograph.