Documentary photographer challenges norms in free-ranging works
BY TOMOE TAKAGI STAFF WRITER
Photographer Takashi Homma says there is no set way to enjoy his exhibition. "Do whatever you like--you can even lie down," he said. (Rei Kishitsu)The face of photographer Takuma Nakahira is lit by a match in the video clip "Short Hope." (Rei Kishitsu)In "re-construction," viewers flip through collections of photographs taken by Homma that are bound as photo books. (Rei Kishitsu)Sequence by sequence, "Trails" follows a deer hunt across a snowy field. Next to the photographs are paintings that depict the same scenes. (Rei Kishitsu)
Visitors to Takashi Homma's exhibition may be excused for thinking they have stumbled into a magazine's editorial meeting to decide which frames to use for an ad spread.
Pictures of McDonald's restaurants, with their ubiquitous Golden Arches, taken at locations all over the world are spread across the floor of a hall at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery in Shinjuku Ward.
The arrangement prompted one visitor to exclaim: "It's almost like the entire room is a contemporary art installation."
That view is not a mistake; it is exactly the way Homma wants people to see his works.
For Homma, whose photographs typically end up in magazine spreads, advertisements and photo books, this exhibit is his first foray into the three-dimensional setting of a gallery.
But he doesn't feel intimidated by the new settings. In fact, he says, it is really no different from his usual line of work.
"The way I see it, taking photographs and controlling how those images are presented are quite similar in nature," he says.
In working on magazines and photography books, Homma has always made a point of being involved in the editorial process. He attends editorial meetings after shootings to discuss which frames to use and how best to lay out the pictures.
"Editing works (for print) is exactly the same as exhibiting works in a museum," he says.
So when he set out to plan his Tokyo exhibition, he followed the same manner he uses when working with print media. The result is unique.
In one installation, he displays a series of photographs with corresponding paintings. In another, he stacks up piles of photo books that contain his pictures for viewers to peruse.
In yet another, a video clip that Homma produced in collaboration with a musician is projected onto a giant screen.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the seeming absence of his latest works, which can't be seen on any walls or floors. That's because he tucked them away inside the exhibition catalogue. The move was intentional.
"In my mind, the catalog is the last room in the exhibit," he explains.
"Takashi Homma New Documentary" runs through June 26 at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery. See (www.asahi.com/event/homma) and (www.operacity.jp/ag).