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TITLE : Shino Kuraishi, "Sansu, A finishing Line", 2011
DATE : 11/21/2011 00:19

In BOOMOON SANSU, Yokohama Civic Art Gallery, Yokohama, 2011


Sansu, A Finishing Line


I touch one end of nature. At that moment, I am not standing outside of nature as a guestly observer. I am wrapped within nature as a formal member, trivial but indisputable, who constitutes a small proportion of it. The visiting of such perception becomes the beginning to understanding nature. That is why even acts such as wandering around in commonplace mountains nearby, or playing at oceans and mountains completely turned into tourist attractions, are certainly not behaviors to be despised. Those are likely to be modest challenges to reflect on our current lifestyles, which are thoroughly denaturalized.


But as for whether the workings from ancient times to convert findings and emotions from the nature that contains us into words, images or sound and express them are being properly meaningful, such workings are unreliable, to be honest. The reasons of their unreliability do not only lie within the system of society since modern times, which has considered everything about nature to be subjects that can be utilized. Even within the manners of art, which should rightfully be strictly confronting and questioning such systems, there already are circumstances that separated nature's place from human relations and isolated it in a protected area for many years. "Nature itself" had been substantially excluded from our discussions of serious art intellection for a long time. The same applied to the genre called photography, one that still used nature as a theme without making it a mere shell. It can even be said that for the past quarter-century or so, representation of nature within the history of photography has almost exclusively meant the kinds that specify, or suggest, motifs that criticize civilization by exploring the territory between it and nature.


However, over the past 10 years, a trend to fight once again with "nature itself" more aggressively has become prominent among some radical photographers or artists who use photography as a medium, regardless of East or West. Of course it is not infrequent that what is resonating there is "ecology", transformed into a public pretense or an excuse for business transactions. We are now being demanded to carefully examine and sort the intentions of the many people who set nature as the theme of their choice, not all of them being artists.


From the 1980s and up to this day, Boomoon has confidently depicted simple scenes of oceans, skies, deserts, mountains, and rivers. He is one of the photographers pioneering the movement to confront "nature itself", and is giving us many suggestions. With his two recent series, "Sansu", which took material from mountains in winter, and "Naksan", which depicted the sea in winter, he achieved extremely detailed and startling depiction and remarkable enlargement of the pictures by installing a "Phase One" digital camera back to his beloved Hasselblad.


The fact that Boomoon's "Sansu" is distinctly stepping into expressions of a new dimension is noticed from, for example, the smooth projection of the new-fallen snow that has slightly and thinly lay down on very slim branches. The extraction of such minuscule components is, while resonating with the large grasp of the massif, certainly assembling an encounter with "Sansu", or nature's scenery itself, for us viewers. It is after the photographer's "attitude" being determined first, of course, that we are finally encouraged to share such encounters. Boomoon testifies on the scheme as follows:


When I’m in the field, the image itself decides what moment I am waiting for. Waiting is part of the encounter. Some might think that it’s just by luck that all the elements come together to reveal the object to be photographed. But the image really is the culminating point in my complex experience of relationships with the world before me. I’m always amazed that it is possible to obtain an image in the fleeting second of an encounter between several physical and mental words. The moment when the shutter opens at last is the conclusion of a situation.*


A meaningful annotation, I must say. The circumstances in which the release of the shutter, which is the basic mechanism of photography, is serviceable for practically mediating and sublating the opposition between subjects and objects are being commentated on. What a photographer captures, or what is being captured within a photograph, is neither an imitation of the physical world nor a materialization of the mental world. Instead, what are overlaid as several worlds, or in other words the “conclusions”, the final lines of the instantaneous encounters that occur between matter and mind, are photographs. Only within these moments of unified dissolving do the original forms of “images” come into light.


Using the latest digital technology as an important fulcrum, the will to countercurrently reach the extremely simple and pure original forms of nature gives birth to images. The "Sansui-ga" (Chinese-style landscape paintings) of the 21st century, revealed by an almost magical resolution, is planning a new harmony of "realism and idealism."


(Translated from the Japanese by Azusa Suga)

* Boomoon’s words are from Catherine Grout's unpublished essay "Presences" 2008, quoted by Kim Airyung in "Foreword", Boomoon: Sansu & Naksan, Hakgojae Gallery, Seoul, 2011