Hamada’s series ‘Primal Mountain’ and ‘photograph,’ both released in 2013, use photography as a means to explore the theme of ‘the seen and the unseen.’ The following year he began using color and layering to unique effect in ‘C/M/Y.’ The experimental series used deconstructed Polaroids to rediscover the fundamentals of photography–color, form and composition. This new style, together with his search for ‘the seen and the unseen,’ are the two major elements of Hamada’s work. While concept and technique are extremely important to him, he is careful not to become their slave. Subject matter and the inherent wonder of the medium remain the core of his approach.
This ‘Broken Chord’ series came about after a visit to Wrocław, a Polish city designated as European Capital of Culture in 2016. Poland’s borders have been redrawn numerous times over the years and, along with Hungary, it was one of the first members of the Eastern Bloc to embrace democracy.
Hamada began capturing glimpses into the city’s past within “layers of new posters pasted over old ones and the patchwork walls of German brick buildings which had been repaired many times over with a variety of materials and colors.” Upon returning to Japan, he intertwined these with his own memories of the journey to produce this series of images.
For his first exhibition featuring monochrome photographs, Hamada produced both straight prints and double exposures created using dual enlargers. By trading in color for black and white and through the mix of straight and double-exposed prints he has succeeded in reproducing the invisible reality lurking just below our own–“the passage of time and the memories of the city itself.”
Approximately 40 gelatin silver prints will be exhibited.
I don’t believe that life’s important things are always found in historical locations or symbolic landmarks. In fact they’re often found in common places we’ve come to take for granted.
In September of 2016 I spent a month in the Polish city of Wrocław. Poland’s borders have shifted many times throughout the country’s past and Wrocław was once a part of Germany. A few days into my stay I began to notice layers of new posters pasted over old ones and the patchwork walls of German brick buildings which had been repaired many times over with a variety of materials and colors. To me these came to represent the passage of time and the memories of the city itself.
Riding the bus through the city I’d drift in and out of consciousness. Likewise, my perception of time and space would come and go like light glistening in rippled water. Propelled by a series of overlapping coincidences and equipped with black and white film, I began photographing a succession of towns and national borders.
After I’d finished shooting, I decided that adding my own memories of the city to the mix would be key in producing the series. In addition to my usual printing process, I also made double exposed prints using two enlargers at once. In doing so I’ve created a series of photographs that come together to form new layers by intermingling ‘the complex simplicity of the layered’ and ‘the simple complexity of the unlayered.’
Translated by Dan Szpara
Yuji Hamada was born in Osaka in 1979. He began working at a publisher upon graduation from Nihon University College of Art’s Department of Photography in 2003. He has worked as a freelance photographer since 2006. Hamada’s work questions the nature of ‘the seen’ and ‘the unseen.’
Major exhibitions of his photographs include ‘Pulsar+Primal Mountain’ (2013) and ‘C/M/Y’ (2015) at PGI in Tokyo as well as ‘photograph’ and ‘Primal Mountain’ at Munich’s GALLERIE f 5.6 (2016).
His work has also been shown at the “Images” photo festival in Vevey, Switzerland (2014), the Aix-en-Provence Photo Festival in France and New York’s Conde Nast Gallery (2015), along with many other venues.
His debut monograph ‘photograph’ was nominated for the Paris Photo/Aperture First Photobook Award 2014.
He is currently based in Tokyo but continues to show his work across the globe.
In 2015 he published his experimental printing project ‘C/M/Y’ and ‘BRANCH,’ a collection created in Switzerland.
|“Pulsar + Primal Mountain“