Oya-ishi , Oya Stone
poem: Shuntarō Tanikawa
language: Japanese / English
For three months, Veronika Spierenburg moved from Japan’s south to it’s north. Photography has become an obsession in Japan where only a few unspoiled spots can be found. From this, Spierenburg created an artist’s book which shows the richness of textures, artifacts, traditional as well as modern architecture in an idiosyncratic mood. The photographs shed light on how Japanese culture manifests itself in its craftsmanship.
Veronika Spierenburg: “The medium of photography in Japan was for me the function of a sketchbook, a drawing eye. Whatever I discovered, observed or ignored, influenced my next observation. The longer I was on the road, the more the qualities and materials of this country burned into my photography. I deliberately reduced the preparations for this trip to Japan to the essentials, to be able to throw an unbiased view of the country. With great attention I moved by train, boat, car and by foot between cities and villages as well as on bigger and smaller islands. The focus of my interest was predominantly architecture. In Japan there are still many traditional houses. The basic requirement of Japanese architecture is on one hand in balance with nature and on the other hand for protection against natural disasters. Houses are protected against the weather with bamboo, stone walls and thick thatched roofs. An interesting example of this are the folk houses, called Kura houses, which have a specific Japanese wall design: a white grid pattern on black slate. Material and structure protect the house from rain and wind and prevent the spread of fire. What seems aesthetically pleasing to the Western eye has a functional significance for the Japanese. The buildings of famous architects such as Kenzo Tange, Togo Murano, Tadao Ando, Kazuo Shinohara and Kisho Kurokawa are presented in the book along with folk architecture.
Selected for the Athens Photobook Festival.