Yuji Hamada

Incidence and Reflection

Dec 1, 2022 - Jan 28, 2023
PGI

Yuji Hamada

Incidence and Reflection

Dec 1, 2022 - Jan 28, 2023
PGI

  • ©Yuji Hamada

  • ©Yuji Hamada

  • ©Yuji Hamada

  • ©Yuji Hamada

  • ©Yuji Hamada

  • ©Yuji Hamada

  • ©Yuji Hamada

PGI is delighted to present the exhibition Incidence and Reflection with new works by Yuji Hamada.

 

Since his debut series photograph and Primal Mountain, Yuji Hamada has continuously produced thoughtful and critically acclaimed photographic works. Since 2015, he has created several color-themed series that employ unique methods to examine ideas of color, shape and the image within the two-dimensional plane of the photograph. Throughout his career, Hamada’s interest has been on the relationship between vision and perception, following a performative approach based on photography’s various functions as a manufactured product.

 

Aluminum-based pre-sensitized plates (PS plates) are an indispensable part of modern printmaking. Coated with a light-sensitive liquid called photoresist, these plates interact with ultraviolet light to create positive or negative lithographic image plates. For his series Incidence and Reflection, Hamada makes use of this particular property of PS plates to create photographs made with ultraviolet light.

In his early series photograph, Hamada took long-term exposure photographs of smoke to visualize the existence of light that otherwise escapes our perception. Incidence and Reflection shares the theme of light as a central motif, but, says Hamada,“it is like seeing a completely different light from that captured in photograph.”

 

In order to use the PS plates, Hamada cut them into sizes corresponding to medium- and large-format photography (4×6, 6×6 and 8×10) and inserted them into his camera in place of photographic film.

The photographic properties of PS plates differ vastly from ordinary photographic film. Even during bright sunshine, the plates demand exposure times in excess of 90 minutes, and Hamada noticed that dark-colored subjects were sometimes not captured at all in his images due to their low UV-light reflectance.

Photographing in this way contradicted everything Hamada had learned about exposure and offered him a welcome new experience. Excited to see how the world would appear in ultraviolet photographs, Hamada continued to capture scenes and sights close to his everyday life.

In addition to capturing subjects using the light they reflect, Hamada soon took inspiration from the camera-less technique of the photogram and added PS plates to signs and posters around the city to expose them directly with incident light.

 

“During the indescribably long exposure of the PS plates, I passed the time by imagining how the rays of ultraviolet light bouncing off the sceneries in front of me would react with the aluminum plate in my camera, and at some point I remembered that Niépce’s invention of heliography in the earliest days of photography was inspired by the lithographic technique …

In order to create the finished works, I went through the basic printmaking process: apply ink to the plates, then print the images onto paper. But doing so I realized that this process left out something essential to the work. Eventually, I decided that the final works should be the PS plates themselves.”

— Yuji Hamada

 

The exhibition features approximately 60 aluminum plates exposed with ultraviolet light.

 

 

Incidence and Reflection

In summer 2020 I started working with pre-sensitized printing plates (PS plates) that are used in offset and lithography printing. I had seen such plates many times before when watching my photobooks being printed and had even included some in exhibitions of my work, but at the time I knew neither what they were called nor what peculiar characteristics they possessed. The series Incidence and Reflection began after I learned that these plates were sensitive to ultraviolet light and wanted to see what it would look like to photograph using only this part of the light spectrum, invisible to the eye yet surrounding us whenever the sun shines.

The entire concept of exposing images is different when photographing with ultraviolet light. The exposure time becomes indescribably long, and I passed the minutes and hours while waiting for the plates to be exposed by imagining what the sceneries before me would look like drawn in ultraviolet light. At some point, I remembered that Niépce’s invention of héliographie in the earliest days of photography was inspired by the lithographic technique. Inadvertently, I thought about the 200 long years that have passed between then and today.

In order to create the finished works, I went through the basic printmaking process: apply ink to the plates, then print the images onto paper. But doing so I realized that this process left out something essential to the work. Eventually, I decided that the final works should be the PS plates themselves.

The process of seeing images created from ultraviolet light emerge from the plates brings me a pure kind of joy, and I feel a peculiar beauty in the way these thin aluminum plates remain warm like skin after sunbathing.

 

Yuji Hamada

Yuji Hamada

Born in Osaka, Japan in 1979. Graduated from the Department of Photography, Nihon University College of Art in 2003. Currently based in Tokyo with works being exhibited worldwide.

Hamada experiments with a variety of unique approaches to create work that is highly conceptual yet rooted in the fundamentals of photography.

Major exhibitions include   K   (2019), R G B (2018), Broken Chord (2017), C/M/Y (2015) (PGI, Tokyo), Photograph and Primal Mountain (GALERIE f5,6, Munich). Participated in the Images photo festival in Vevey, Switzerland (2014), the Aix-en-Provence Photo Festival in France and the Les Rencontres de la Photographie Marrakech in Morocco (2019).

Major publications include C/M/Y (Fw:books, 2015), which uses the printing process as a means of photographic expression, BRANCH (lemon books, 2015), a series created with only fallen branches found while mountain climbing in Switzerland and Primal Mountain (torch press, 2019).