Giada Ripa’s ‘The Yokohama Project: 1867-2016’ – an imaginary conversation about Japan going back to the 19th century, between the artist and her ancestor Mathilde Ruinart de Brimont, along with the visual narrative of Felice Beato, as a part of exploring her family story and the western vision of this enigmatic country through the years.
Giada Ripa – The Yokohama Project 1867-2016
The project is composed around 53 hand-coloured old photographs, views and historical notes about the city of Yokohama, its surroundings, Japan and the Japanese society. Their author is Felice Beato, an Italian, who in 1860 settled in Japan when it had just opened its doors to the western world. For over fifty years, until the early 20th century, Beato’s photographs were one of the principal source of collective imagery of the Far East. They were published into many travel books and newspapers, and ‘helped’ to shape the standard ‘Western’ notion about Asian society.
A few months later, the artist discovered “an unpublished manuscript of Mathilde Ruinart, and ancestor of mine, an artist and muse to several intellectuals, who left for the Orient in 1867, along with her diplomat husband, providing a vivid description of it. From her “Carnets de Voyage” and “Voyage au Japon” emerges the friendship with Felice Beato explaining how the album ended up in the house.”
With these two treasures in hand, Ripa decided to fly to Japan and go back in time making the same photographs “acting as the link between Beato’s images and the figure of Mathilde, following their respective footsteps and attempting, through my western prism, to identify local contemporary analogies, and convey 150 years later, the transformations of society and landscape in Yokohama and its surroundings.”
“I focus on going beyond environmental or cultural values, focused on the essential structure of the landscape and of the textile. Regarding my perception, it is not simply a translation of the other, but instead one can be found in the other — the tree behaves the same in the forest as it does in the textile. In a similar way the mind finds comfort in the distant horizon as in woven memories of here and there. Perhaps I found a meshwork of myth and memory that connects and interweaves a parallel universe not of deserts, glaciers, jungle and dense forests, not of way finding or the exoticness of the other sense, but a place that is constructed by a million trillion threads that are witness of human perception.”
Philip J Brittan’s series ‘Last Garden’ – an intimate collection of impressions, inspired by his mother’s positive vision about life, symbolized by her pride and delight – her beautiful garden, and marked by the physical contact with it.
Philip J Brittan – Last Garden
“She was a dedicated gardener who gained immense pleasure from the many hours she spent working in the garden that she maintained for sixty years. The results were magnificent, combining a wide variety of plants in ways that enticed complimentary comments from visitors and from strangers passing by. Being in the garden always raised my mother’s spirits, lifting her out of the restrictions and pressing concerns of the now… ‘Last Garden’ is a series I made in my mother’s beautiful garden that she became too frail to maintain in the last months of her life… The prints are painted with various media and then buried in the garden for extended periods of time, allowing the place to connect with them in a very direct way and influence the finished work.”
Farrah Karapetian’s series ‘Relief’ – vibrant photograms where luscious liquid colors perform in an abstract motion an emotional connection with the uncertainty.
The series is the artist’s own creative observation to the migration crises and a personal research of her family history in similar times. Elements of ‘safety’ like life vests or boats are implemented in the images produced using constructed negatives, or handmade props, both as a visual language and a sculptural art.
Carolyn Marks Blackwood’s series ‘Ice’ – capturing in abstract fragments the crashing drama of the ice to emphasize the energy of natural environment and ephemeral state of being.
Born in Alaska, the artist has always been fascinated with winter and ice. Though this is a familiar theme, she redefines their beauty in a metaphoric sense, showing ice jagged edges look dangerous as broken glass, and yet there is an enigma, and poetry, in these geometric shapes and palette of delicate colours created as a result of miracle of light.
“One loses one’s balance, and one’s breath simply looking at them.” (Alan Klotz)
Friederike von Rauch’s series ‘In Secret’ – partial compositions of interior spaces with a subtle artistic aesthetic and carefully chosen framing, evocative of abstract paintings, to express her admiration to the silent beauty of insignificant details and focus on hints to their secrets .
William Miller’s series ‘Ruined Polaroids’ – “an unintended exploration into the three-dimensional physical character of an antiquated photographic medium that touches on subjects from the artistic value of chance, to questions of what constitutes a photograph. I say unintended because what I’m focusing on here is a technological anomaly. The failure of a process.”
William Miller – Ruined Polaroids
These pictures are taken with a broken old Polaroid SX-70 camera bought for just $18 at a garage sale. When he started using, it “spills out two pictures at a time and the film often gets stuck in the gears, exposing and mangling the images in unpredictable ways.” They were an abstract mess that could hardly be called photographs. At first, he tried to repair it but since nothing helped, over time, he liked this unpredictability and enjoyed the surprise that the distortion could create. “So much about all this is just chance.”
Yosuke Takeda’s series ‘Digital Flare’ – like abstract paintings “where light sparkles in all the colors of the rainbow inside the frames”.
Yosuke Takeda – Digital Flare
“Takeda’s concern is with light, and the color in his photographs is by no means pictorial color; rather, it is prism color that seeps out from the light nurtured within the frame. Although at a glance they look like aesthetic, pictorial images of the flickering of rays of sunshine filtering through the branches of trees, the images in the series “Digital Flare” are in fact photographs of strong light being drawn into the camera and the area within the frame being turned into what might be called a supersaturated state. This is the pure model for Takeda’s photography. Photographed in high resolution, the details are filled with light textures that undulate in an almost chaotic manner.” (text by Minoru Shimizu)
Samuel Zuder’s project ‘Face to Faith’ – capturing the silent majesty of one of the most fascinating places on earth – the sacred Mount Kailash in Tibet in an iconic collection of portraits and landscape panoramas.
Samuel Zuder – Face to Faith
“In the midst of the stony desert of the Changtang plateau, it towers up like a pyramid: Mount Kailash. Tibetans also call it “jewel of snow” due to its unusually symmetrical form. It is one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever been to. The four major religious traditions Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Bon worship Mount Kailash not only as a sacred mountain, but they refer to it as the origin of the universe. Year after year, hundreds of believers set out for the exhausting pilgrimage to Mount Kailash. Out of respect for its spiritual importance Mount Kailash has never been climbed. In 1985, Reinhold Messner was authorized to climb it but he consciously decided against it. For this reason, Mount Kailash is one of the rare untrodden places of our world.”
Meike Nixdorf’s project ‘Your Earth Transforms’ – using landscape to illustrate abstract ideas on perspective and perception, and the earth’s crust as a metaphor to the idea of how change is often invisible.
Meike Nixdorf – Your Earth Transforms
“The Alps rise every year on average by about 1-2 mm. A transformation not visible to our eyes nor physically noticeable. What does this say about our perception?
Based on 3D-renderings by Google Earth from various satellite imagery, the project shows details from different mountain ranges in the Alps, the Cascade Range, the Rocky Mountains, the Himalaya, the Karakoram and the Hawaiian Islands. The images display their respective shape at a certain point of time. A frozen moment – yet there is a sense of change and movement.
This project is not intended to serve as a geological survey. Rather, it focuses on the powerful beauty of the Earth’s crust. One likes to believe that it is possible to hold on to a status quo. Like holding on to the idea of a solid formation of rock, there is no stable foundation which will stay exactly the same for generations to come. There is no status quo. The Earth—our world—is in a perpetual state of flux.”