KAWA=Flow Exhibition by Yamamoto Masao Munehisa Masao
Most of his photographic works are in monochrome and its aged texture reminds us of “memories dropping out of someone’s drawers”. Snapshot sized, yet speechlessly beautiful pictures have been exhibited in groups of ten to several hundred spread across the wall, or sometimes placed in a small box. Tranquility around each photograph filled the entire space. Strangely, the existence of a single piece of art and a whole installation seemed to be equal. It recalls oriental and Japanese ideas about the relationships between the world and self. Western audiences pick up those essences and are the reason why his work is widely appreciated in the western world.
It is clear that Yamamoto’s new attempt is in “KAWA=Flow”. Unlike previous exhibitions, he mounted framed pictures one by one. This time the audience is able to experience each one individually, instead of viewing the collective entity. Kawa (river) is not a geographical border but is instead viewed as a sentimental divide. Lines that divide life and death are examples of this. Kawa also implies the flow of our on-going life. The artist experiences the flow when he releases the shutters and takes a picture. Yamamoto has seen and experienced thousands of rivers. The images he captured remind the audience of an existence of a river that flows from current life to future life. When the audience looks at the world, (which is the individual according to oriental thoughts,) they realize that both conscious and unconscious thoughts all flow like a river.
Framed individually, his work can be similar to the poetry style of HAIKU. HAIKU brings flow to the poetry world by featuring seasonal words and capturing a vivid moment. Yamamoto’s photographic works present a moment in a similarly beautiful and momentous flow. The world is beautiful and ever changing; only when we stop at this river do we notice the flow.