Yuki Yamazaki is a Kyoto-based photographer who explores how the photographic image reflects the ways in which everyday living is a continuation of the past. His works blend ordinary imagery with unrecognisable elements, creating fragmented works that disrupt the senses.Read More
Born in Shizuoka, Japan in 1993, Yamazaki remembers growing up in fear that a natural disaster could occur at any moment. He grew up learning about the Tōkai earthquake which devastated the region in 1854. He experienced numerous smaller earthquakes, which were seen by some researchers to be precursors for a large and dangerous earthquake to come.
Yamazaki recalls seeing images on television that predicted the damage the next Tōkai earthquake could cause, as well as practicing different disaster drills at schools and community events. This constant fear for the future shaped Yamazaki's childhood and has continued to influence his work as a photographer. 'I am dying (or) living, in this nation of disasters', he says.
Yuki Yamazaki photographs explore landscapes as sites for destruction and renewal. As a result of factors such as natural disasters, industrialisation and modernisation, landscapes are a visual marker of how cultural and physical identity are in a state of flux and uncertainty.
Through his distorted renderings of physical landscapes and utilisation of the everyday, even mundane aspects of nature, Yamazaki highlights personal and collective memories that universalise experiences. The artist's black and white photographs capture the lives of individuals through an introspective lens, while the ambiguous elements in his work create a sense of timelessness that transcend space and time.
'There is a possibility that even not meaningless things happen', Yamazaki explains. 'I cannot take it [for] granted this warm sunlight in the afternoon. Something latent always comes into my view in [the] silent middle of the night, or while I am taking a bath, or even suddenly right now at this moment.'
Yamazaki's 'New Order' series exemplifies the transcendental aspect of his works. In this series the artist photographs his hometown from different aerial perspectives. He gathers data from indoor and outdoor imagery and converts them into 3D patterns, which he then layers on top of the photographs of his hometown.
Varied textures and shapes emerge from the surface, creating abstract landscapes that explore how history has shaped the new digital age. Through this photographic series, the artist responds to the question, 'How can oblivion be resisted through visual imagery alone?' while continuing his ongoing exploration of how the present moment and the future is influenced by the past.
Yamazaki describes this series as an attempt to redefine photography. As the world that is photographed is fundamentally different from the one experienced by living bodies, Yamazaki notes that his practice is an acknowledgement that the landscapes captured by his camera are visually distinct from the ones perceived through the senses.
Yamazaki has held exhibitions at Jason Shin, formerly One Four Gallery, in Seoul, Korea and at KYOTOGRAPHIE in Kyoto, Japan. He has exhibited work in international art fairs such as the New City Art Fair, fotofever in Paris and Athens Photo Festival, and participated in various art book fairs that include New York Art Book Fair at MOMA PS1, LA Art Book Fair, Tokyo Art Book Fair and Stockholm Art Book Fair.
His work has been included in various art publications, such as Einstein Studio Archives and Fisheye Magazine.
Gabrielle Leung | Ocula | 2021