gTo say nothing, to shut my eyes, to allow the detail to rise of its own accord into affective consciousness.h
- Roland Barthes (from gCamera Lucidah)
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In this exhibition titled gYoin / Hibiki (Remaining Sound / Reverbrating Echo)h at Gallery Hyun in Seoul, the works of three Japanese photographers are exhibited in the aim of exploring the fertile field of photography, which is a universal art language. We also hope that this exhibition will give contemporary photography a new ground for understanding and appreciation, and help us find the traditional aesthetic in Japanese art alive and at work in photographic art - that is, to reverbrate gyoin,h or remaining sound, within the audiencefs heart.
Traditionally, Japanese painters, such as picture scroll makers and, more recently, decorative Rimpa painters of Edo era, have deftly dealt with gblanknessh and gomissionh in their depiction of space. Rather than precisely reproducing all the details in the picture plane and putting an effort of explanation, those painters left the viewers with spaces and gaps where they can slide themselves in and put their own imagination at work. Thus, Japanese painters tried to present the world more attractively or truthfully than it actually looks.
The shortest poetry form in the world, Haiku, holds some similarities with traditional Japanese painting, in a sense that people appreciate gblanknessh or gomission.h in both. Cutting down the whole words to simple 5-7-5 syllables would, despite the limitation and simplicity, allows a reader to picture a world which spreads out limitlessly in his/her mind with help of imagination. Resonant emotions and feelings, or ghibiki,h generated out of the extreme simplicity and conciseness of words, are the key to approach Haiku aesthetic.
This attitude of appreciating gyoinh and ghibikih can be traced down in the contemporary art in Japan, and it is above all interesting to notice how contemporary photographers have succeeded it and transferred it to their own works. Because photography can be characterized with sheer objectivity, it may be analogized with gSyaseih (objective depiction) attitude in the art of Haiku. Trimming the world into a certain frame, as a photographer does, is similar to the 17-syllable policy of Haiku.
Toshiyuki Nanjo, Seiko Oka and Asako Tanaka, who are included in this exhibition, among others, are aware of the possibility of making the images resound and spread out like echoes. It might be said that they take advantage of the limitation of photography. Their respective work methods differ from each other, but they do reveal a certain affinity between traditional Japanese aesthetic and contemporary photographic art.
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