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For a few years after 2008, I applied a special white makeup to my whole body and performed in central Osaka.  This person who turned white wandered around the city searching for a connection with society.  This direct and tactile behavior was one of the ways for me to connect with society.  The initial series in 2009, “A Person Who Became White”, used photographs taken at the actual location.


The theme of this series is “individual solitude in contemporary Japanese society”.  I combined traditional dyeing techniques, such as stencil dyeing and makinori, and a dyeing technique of sublimation transfer using a large modern machine.  I photographed images with dye on a glossy twill chemical fiber, and furthermore, to deepen the sense of chaos of society, I repeatedly dyed the image of a crumbling landscape using various techniques.  As there is no white in the world of dyes, “A Person Who Became White” appears on the screen as a metaphor of a person who has lost everything in a chaotic society.  I believe that the social background into which I was born and raised is related to the background of this production.  I was born in 1988 and grew up in a generation in which the Internet was becoming popular.  I was exposed to many things and influenced by times in which it was difficult to directly grasp everything around me.  In addition, in 2008 when this series started, the Lehman Shock occurred on 15th September, and was this not an era when anxiety and obstruction was felt in the Japanese economy and society?  “A Person Who Became White” lived in such a situation, perhaps trying to verify to live his life while struggling with inevitable external causes trying to defeat him and make him disappear.


There has been a big change within me from 2011.  There was the influence of relatives who were repeatedly in and out of hospital and the impact of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake that occurred on 11th March. I increasingly started to think about death.  With episodes of the victims repeatedly reported on TV and photographs left behind including my family, I could feel people still living in various media even after they had died.  The dead people continued to live by changing shape in the photographs left behind, in the news reports and on the Internet and in the media.  The series of “Tracing the Image” was born from such feeling of record and memory, presence and disappearance.  I carefully and repeatedly draw onto the image data (mainly group photos of people who had already died before I was born) that was found on the Internet.  Due to arbitrarily overlapping handwriting and rubbing during printing, the original image gradually changes and disappears.  Based on the image that was disappearing, I dyed the image left in the velvet fabric.  This fabric has fiber of several centimeters in length, and it is a bit fluffy and the appearance changes depending on the angle, fleetingly, but certainly an image appears.  As seen in the sacred fabric of Jesus Christ, the traces of what is left will continue to be stronger than the existence of living things.


Since 2013, my relatives died in a row.  I looked at an old photo album as if to verify the memory of them.  There certainly was a recorded history of living individuals.  History is the accumulation of loss of such enormous individual histories.  Based on old photographs of my relatives which I own (vernacular photographs = photographs specific to a certain place) and photographs taken based on coverage (mainly historic places and buildings), we regain the sense of time by dismantling the image from the media called photography.  The word media has Latin etymology and refers for a spiritual medium, which was always a tool to connect the living and the dead.  Photographer Geoffrey Batchen said “a photograph suspends a subject between life and death, and enables the subject to overcome the passing time flow.” Photographs are also a medium that enables the viewers to experience a time trip with the subject between the time of shooting and present.  The series of Layered Dye was produced by the concept of  “Visualizing Time” and “Multi-layering Images”.  By capturing the photographed/projected photograph as a trace of light, and by layering countless thin pieces of dyed fabric, an image appears obscurely in diffuse reflections of light despite it being on a flat surface.  Is not this a “proof of existence” for people, buildings, landscapes that certainly lived – are living – in time and space while highlighting the danger of the media itself as photographs?


I started working on the series of “Disappearing painting” and “Disappearing image” in 2015.  In these series, a special pigment makes the image repeatedly “disappear and appear”.  In the “Disappearing painting”, I used “dots” as a minimum unit of painting, and in the “Disappearing image”, distinguished people appearing in art history and photography history were developed as motifs.  For the latter, I photographed a portrait of each person with multiple exposures of the camera referring to a historical story.  For example, a portrait of Marie Antoinette, superimposed in the continuous light of the camera, and her representative portrait, “Self-portrait in a Straw Hat” by Le Brun, who had made a living as a painter since her teens, turned to the front proudly grasping the paintbrush and pallet.  This glimpses Le Brun’s troubled life as a painter.


The group of dots and images seem to disappear and appear, caused by the chemical reaction of the dye and irradiated ultraviolet ray, and that changes the molecular structure of the dye itself and reaches to the visual region of the human eye to repeat coloring and disappearing.  It is said ultraviolet rays deteriorate artworks so one would take precautions to prevent strong ultraviolet rays from entering museums and display cabinets.  However, in this work, the image only appears by irradiating it with the ultraviolet ray.  In other words, it can only be visualized by degrading it.  Disappearance and appearance turn figures into earth and turn earth into figures, or the object itself drawn or photographed onto nothing would diminish.


In the modern era with the “original” disappearing, what has died will reappear and revive.


By breaking down ourselves and everything existing in the world to a dot, and capturing from a bird’s-eye viewpoint the fact that images of individual existence in time and space, and historical images of its accumulation continue to be rewritten, state or country, things and people living in the world, each relationship and presence – in the huge history “everything becomes a relic and repeats appearing and disappearing in time”.

And this is “certainly a proof of the existence of people living in the past”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                July 19th, 2017


2011年を境に自身に大きな変化があった。身内が体調を崩し入退院を繰り返していた経験や3月11日に起こった東日本大震災の影響もあり、死について考えることが多くなった。テレビなどで繰り返し報道される死者にまつわるエピソードや、私の身内も含め残された写真からは、死してもなお様々なメディアで生き続ける人々を感じ取ることが出来た。現代アート作家のクリスチャン・ボルタンスキーは、「人は二度死ぬ、一つは医学的な死だ。もう一つは忘れ去られることによる記憶の死だ。」と語っているが、死者は残された写真、報道やネット、メディアのなかでカタチを変えて生き続ける。 記録や記憶、存在と消失、そういった感覚から生まれたのが「イメージを痕跡化する」シリーズだ。ネットからファウンドフォトしてきた画像データ(主に私が生まれる以前の既に亡くなっている人々の集合写真、宗教の団体など)に、繰り返し慎重にドローイングを加える。恣意的に重ねられた筆跡や印刷時の擦れにより、元の画像は徐々に変化し消えていく。

2013年より、親族が立て続けに亡くなった。彼らとの記憶を確かめるかのように、古いアルバムを見返していく。そこには確かに生きていた個人の歴史が刻まれていた。歴史は、こうした膨大な個人史の喪失の積み重なりである。所有する親族の古写真(ヴァナキュラー写真=ある土地に固有の写真)や取材に基づき撮影した写真(主に歴史的な場所、建造物など)を元に、写真というメディアからイメージを解体することで、時の感覚を取り出していく。メディアはメディウム=霊媒というラテン語の語源をもち、それらは常に生者と死者を繋ぐためのツールであった。写真史家のジェフリー・バッチェンは、「写真が生と死の間で被写体を“宙づり”にし、過ぎ去りゆく時間の流れに被写体が打ち勝つことを可能にする能力」と語る。写真は、鑑賞者が被写体との間で撮影されてから現在までの時の往復を経験するメディアでもある。Layered dyeのシリーズでは、「時の視覚化」「イメージを重層化する」というコンセプトで制作を行い、写された/映された写真を光の痕跡と捉え、染色した無数の薄い生地のピースを大量に蓄積させることで、超平面的でありながら光の乱反射のなかに朧げにイメージが立ち現れる。
それは、写真というメディアそのものの危うさを浮き彫りにしながら時空間のなかで確かに生きていた − 生きている − 人々、建物、風景の“存在の証明”ではないか。
2015年より「消失する絵画」「消失するイメージ」に取り掛かり始めた。このシリーズは、特殊色素により図像が  「消えと現れ」  を繰り返す。



そのとき、”ホンモノ" の消失した現代において、死んだモノが何かへと現れ蘇る。


我々や我々の存在する世界に有るもの全てを点にまで解体し、時空間の中で個々の存在のイメージと、その集積である歴史イメージが書き換えられ続けることを俯瞰的な視点でとらえ、国家や国、世界の中で生きるモノや人、各々の関係性、存在が − 膨大な歴史のなかで「全ては遺物となり時のなかで消えと現れを繰り返す」



"Toshichika Kamon solo exhibiton"

When we look at photos and images, I explore the circumstances of the subject in the photos that was once there, and is still there as an image at same time.

For my artworks, to break up the images which appear in the photos, and to rebuild and visualize time and space, I utilize traditional techniques and leading edge techniques of dyeing.


In this exhibition, I create the images by overlapping several thousands of fine thin textile pieces, which are stained with dip dyeing and mechanical approach, for the picture series of "Layered dye". By using permeable textiles and dyestuff, the picture makes thick-layered image even though they are super flat.


As for the series of "Disappearing painting" and "Disappearing image", circular images, which have been constructed by small dots dyed by noribosen (a kind of dyeing technique using rice glue to keep undyed parts) and the dip dyeing, and historical characters appear and disappear.


In my artworks, I break up all of us and everything that exist in our world to comprehensively perceive the historical image, which is an accumulation of the images of individual existence, is continuously being rewritten.


And I think that is the "raison d'être of people who certainly lived in the past".  


Exhibition information (japanese)


Press Release (japanese)


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