The main gallery at LUCAD is currently showing “Ametsuchi,” the latest publication from the award-winning Japanese fine art photographer Rinko Kawauchi. She has had solo exhibitions all over the world, including: New York, Berlin, Paris, London, Madrid, and Milan, among others. Kawauchi lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. For “Ametsuchi,” Kawauchi used a 4×5 large format camera— a departure from her usual 6×6 format.
On the wall of the entrance to the gallery are words from Kawauchi, with the Japanese translation underneath:
“Heaven, earth, star, sky
Mountain, river, peak, valley
Cloud, fog, hut, moss
Man, dog, top, bottom
Sulfur, monkey, grow!
Hackberry branch, becoming more familiar”
Many of the photographs in the exhibit are of “yakihata,” or the traditional Japanese method of controlled burning in certain regions in order to create farm land, while the resulting ash works as a natural fertilizer in the soil. The photographs are taken at Mount Aso in Kyushu, Japan, where yakihata has been practiced for many years.
The images are almost eerie, and surreal— bright orange fire bursts from the neutral colors of the dry grass. Flames engulf Mount Aso, eating their way through the brush with black smoke billowing above. These images are placed next to those of lush green valleys, constellations in the night sky, and Mount Aso covered in snow during the winter. The photographs convey nature’s cycle, and further connections can be drawn by translating the name of the exhibit, “Ametsuchi.” In English, the Japanese characters for “ametsuchi” translate to “heaven and earth.”
A selection of photographs from another one of Kawauchi’s publications, “Illuminance,” is being shown in the VanDernoot Gallery at University Hall. “Ametsuchi” will be shown in the LUCAD main gallery at 700 Beacon St. until October 30th.