Surprised and overwhelmed once again
It is a wonderful thing when you become hooked after seeing an artist’s work for the first time. This was the case years ago when I saw Tokihiro Sato’s work for the first time in the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, together with my daughter Lieve in Japan. I wrote about this wonderful encounter to mark the first retrospective exhibition of Tokihiro’s work in our gallery. I explained how I was completely fascinated by what I saw and experienced without even knowing the background story. The work grabbed me by the throat, without needing any extra explanation.
There is now new work hanging in the gallery and the same thing has happened again, but in a different way. Once again, the photos are like sculptures. It is not that they record something directly perceivable, but that a sculptor has created something using the medium of photography.
Photography provides Tokihiro, who initially trained as a sculptor, with a medium in which the process of making, ‘sculpting’, is embedded in the end result. Once again, you walk past the artwork that is so charming in its beauty that it sucks you in. Upon closer examination you see that many experiences have been carefully incorporated into ‘one image’. Now, the view through the branches of a cherry tree is projected onto the ground covered in fallen petals.
In Japan ‘Sakura’, the brief period in which the cherry tree blossoms, is an almost religious experience and not only marks the start of the summer but is also seen as a synonym for the ephemerality and transience of life. For each photo, Tokihiro has carefully chosen the time of falling blossom petals and the place where he stands with a view through the flowering trees. As such, he has ‘composed’ the images, and thus created works that are completely overwhelming.
Click here for more information about the artist.
For the most recent selection of art works in the Van Abbevitrine, please click the following link.