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Komatsu Hiroko: Creative Destruction

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Edited by Carrie Cushman

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Komatsu Hiroko Creative Destruction Published in conjunction with the exhibition at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College January 25 June 5 2022 Curated by Carrie Cushman Linda Wyatt Gruber 66 Curatorial Fellow in Photography at the Davis Museum the exhibition and online catalogue are supported by a grant from the Japan U S Friendship Commission Wellesley College Friends of Art at the Davis the Mildred Cooper Glimcher 61 Endowed Fund and the Anonymous 70 Endowed Davis Museum Program Fund 2022 Davis Museum at Wellesley College and the authors Carrie Cushman Komatsu Hiroko Mitsuda Yuri Franz Prichard Umezu Gen All artwork by Komatsu Hiroko Courtesty of the artist Komatsu Hiroko Installation photography Steve Briggs Designed by Alicia LaTores Friends of Art Curatorial Research Associate at the Davis Museum All rights reserved No part of this publication may be reprinted or reproduced in any form or by an electronic mechanical or other means now known or hereafter invented including photocopying and recording or in any information retrieval systems without prior written permission from the copyright holders ISBN 979 8 9854904 0 4 Davis Museum Wellesley College 106 Central Street Wellesley Massachusetts 02481 www davismuseum wellesley edu

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Contents Director s Foreword Lisa Fischman 5 7 Essays Photography for a Different Future An Introduction to Komatsu Hiroko Creative Destruction Carrie Cushman 10 Artist Talk Komatsu Hiroko with Mitsuda Yuri 22 Komatsu Hiroko s Photographic Overload Franz Prichard 42 Walk the Apocalypse Komatsu Hiroko s Experimental Visual Research in the Context of The Work of Art in the Age of Post Industrial Society Umezu Gen 50 Plates 53 78 90 108 116 Biography 119 Bibliography 123

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Director s Foreword Lisa Fischman Ruth Gordon Shapiro 37 Director It is my great pleasure to introduce this online publication produced to accompany the exhibition Komatsu Hiroko Creative Destruction on view in the Davis Museum s Morelle Lasky Levine 56 Works on Paper Gallery from January 25 June 5 2022 The project paused significantly by the Covid 19 pandemic owes its realization to the scholarly expertise and curatorial initiative of Dr Carrie Cushman the Linda Wyatt Gruber 66 Curatorial Fellow in Photography at the Davis and to the collaborative spirit and flexibility of the artist Komatsu Hiroko The artist s first exhibition in the United States brings Komatsu s highly regarded critically lauded and often awarded photo based installation practice to new audiences those who will visit in person as well as those who will access this publication in the digital realm With many thanks to the authors Carrie Cushman Franz Prichard and Umezu Gen the essays herein establish new contexts and frameworks for the analysis of Komatsu s work it is also a pleasure to present for the first time in English translation the 2017 interview with Komatsu by Mitsuda Yuri Curator of the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art As with any Davis project this one requires the acknowledgment of all staff In normal times every exhibition is a truly collaborative endeavor in addition over the past year and a half staff have met the many new challenges posed by the pandemic with ingenuity generosity of spirit and creativity and 5

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have worked together through a profoundly integrative model This project owes particular thanks to Mark Beeman Manager of Exhibitions and Collections Preparation Helen Connor Assistant Registrar for Exhibitions Digital Resources and Alicia LaTores Friends of Art Curatorial Research Associate The Davis Museum thanks Franz Prichard Lecturer in East Asian Studies at Princeton University and catalogue contributor who introduced Carrie Cushman and Komatsu Hiroko at the Urban Materiality and Photography from Contemporary Japan workshop he organized at Princeton in 2018 Umezu Gen Freelance curator and independent scholar of Art Studies catalogue contributor Mitsuda Yuri Curator of the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art who kindly gave permission to have her interview with Komatsu republished and translated here Jin Sachiko Director of Musashino Art University s gallery M who facilitated the reprinting of Mitsuda Yuri and Komatsu s 2017 interview for the online catalogue Niharika Chibber Joe Deputy Executive Director of the Japan U S Friendship Commission who as administrator of the generous J U S F C grant that supports this project very kindly offered several extensions as our dates and timelines shifted Also many thanks to Colleen Berry for her copy editing skill in English and Japanese to Alicia LaTores for publication design and to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Translation Center for their work As ever our gratitude to Dr Paula Johnson President of Wellesley College and Andy Shennan Provost and Lia Gelin Poorvu 56 Dean of the College for their enthusiastic and unwavering support of the Davis Museum 6

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Ruth Gordon Shapiro 37 Morelle Lasky Levine 56 Works on Paper Gallery 2022 1 25 2022 6 5 Linda Wyatt Gruber 66 DIC 2017 7

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Friends of Art 2018 Urban Materiality and Photography from Contemporary Japan DIC M 2017 Lia Gelin Poorvu 56 8

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9 Figure 1 Installation view of Broiler Space 2010 2011

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An Introduction to Komatsu Hiroko Creative Destruction By Carrie Cushman Linda Wyatt Gruber 66 Curatorial Fellow in Photography Photography for A Different Future Photography for A Different Future By her own admission Komatsu Hiroko came late to photography Born in Kanagawa Japan in 1969 she began working with analog photography in the mid 2000s after a career in experimental music From maintaining a rigorous shooting regimen to crafting photobooks by hand to keeping a packed exhibition schedule she has been making up for the delay ever since Komatsu regularly visits industrial sites with a Leica camera snapping thousands upon thousands of photographs one after the other and then developing the film in her home Production at an accelerated pace is not unusual in the tradition of Japanese street photography a genre to which her work is often ascribed 1 Komatsu s output however is markedly different from the carefully sequenced photobooks or the now iconic and autonomous images of everyday urban phenomena created by the likes of Moriyama Daid or Nakahira Takuma While her predecessors immersed themselves in the act of photography Komatsu explores the potential of sharing that fervor by immersing viewers in the materials of photography 1 Yoshiaki Kai The Predicament and the Reflexive Turn Japanese Street Photography since 1990 Review of Japanese Culture and Society 31 2019 99 10

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To walk into one of Komatsu Hiroko s installations is to enter a world of monochrome In her latest work for the Davis Museum grids of 8 10 photographs line the walls and floor Larger prints obscured by plastic wrap stretch over boxes to create sculptural protrusions Larger still are the uncut rolls of photographs that hang over wires and unfurl underfoot while scenes from past installations appear via projection and loop on a CRT monitor Komatsu has become increasingly well known around the globe for the absorbing photographic environments that she creates In the beginning however the scale of these installations was not a foregone conclusion As she explains in an 2017 artist talk that has been reprinted for this volume from 2010 to 2011 she rented a space in which to stage a series of exhibitions under the collective title Broiler Space Figures 1 5 The site of a former real estate agency the space was decidedly unsuited to the exhibition of individually framed works of art Forcing herself to execute one new exhibition per month for the entire year Komatsu quickly ran out of usable space and had to reconsider the parameters of traditional exhibition design And so she expanded out from the walls draping prints across the floors hanging them from the ceiling and on one occasion even rolling them outside onto a small balcony The multisensory immersive nature of this exhibition strategy places her work in the global tradition of Minimalism or in the Japanese context the Monoha Group of the late 1960s in which large sculptural interventions in the gallery or the environment make viewers aware of both the boundaries and the perceptual capacities of their bodies in relation to objects in space The essays in this volume demonstrate the rich range of historical social and aesthetic contexts that inform and are subsequently transformed by Komatsu s practice The 2017 artist talk facilitated by the curator Mitsuda Yuri provides insight into Komatsu s singular methodological approach to shooting printing and installing photographs To fully appreciate the present shape of the exhibition at the Davis is to understand how Komatsu has developed these methods over time Umezu Gen s essay fleshes out a larger historical context that situates Komatsu s work in a lineage of postwar art produced in response to the industrialization commodification and degradation of the landscape By drawing connections to the activities of groups like Mono ha he invites us to consider the power of alternative approaches 11

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Photography for A Different Future Figures 2 5 Installation views of Broiler Space 2010 2011 12

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to visual representation Finally Franz Prichard identifies aesthetic affinities between Komatsu s photographic output and the ways that positive feedback loops function in experimental noise music In both he argues we can identify the potential to produce knowledge differently At stake in all of these texts is how we make meaning in the late capitalist city Creative Destruction In the wake of the most recent remaking of her home city Tokyo to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games Komatsu s exhibition at the Davis reflects on the urban phenomenon known as creative destruction In this economic model the wooden beams layers of brick steel concrete and glass that make up the built environment ostensibly constructed to last are in fact nothing more than base materials ultimately destined for the dump in the relentless push to churn out new and better products As Stephen Cairns and Jane M Jacobs state in their groundbreaking volume Buildings Must Die Architecture in capitalist contexts is fatally bound to destruction Furthermore capitalism s need to expand and create new markets be it by territorial expansion investing in change or forcing obsolescence is generative of architecture 2 Cairns and Jacobs call creative destruction architecture s most perverse secret whereby its professional stability and its ability to reproduce itself depend on demolition as both a material fact and a psychic desire 3 In our current era of late capitalism this model is driven not only by the architectural profession s need to sustain itself but also by urban planning policies and cycles of investment and disinvestment that treat buildings as commodities to be continuously rebuilt It is often said that Komatsu confronts us with things that cannot be seen despite the fact that 2 Stephen Cairns and Jane M Jacobs Buildings Must Die A Perverse View of Architecture Cambridge The MIT Press 2014 54 3 Ibid 197 13

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Photography for A Different Future demolition and construction sites are a common feature of contemporary urbanscapes worldwide 4 People seem inured to the environmental chaos wrought by the scrap and build mentality unless it appears somewhere unexpected such as the pristine walls of an art gallery or the hushed spaces of a museum This reaction is especially surprising in the context of Japan where new buildings are demolished and rebuilt nearly twice as fast as those in the United States or the United Kingdom Both historic events from Allied firebombing campaigns in the 1940s to massive redevelopment and infrastructural projects in preparation for hosting the 1964 and 2020 Summer Olympic Games and public policy land speculation and the curtailment of building codes during the economic bubble period of the 1980s have contributed to what architects in Japan refer to as short building life syndrome 5 In Tokyo today the average building s lifespan is a mere twenty years Contractors erect elaborate configurations of scaffolding fences and netting around new building sites shielding passersby from the visual if not the aural cacophony of demolition and construction In gathering countless images at the sites where these building materials are sorted and stored Komatsu accounts for the piles of stuff the sheer number of things required to maintain the impression of seamless renewal Komatsu refers to the sites that she photographs as industrial districts factories surrounded by smaller sub factories on the periphery of urban centers The close range at which she shoots concentrates the building materials in the frame so that it is difficult to differentiate between those intended for new construction and those meant to be scrapped The settings in which we find these objects add to their ambivalent status The vines overtaking the fence in Figure 6 suggest an environment of decay while the large cylinders stacked in the grass just beyond appear orderly enough for transport to a new site When presented in abundance the distinguishing content of each photograph is further decontextualized The totality of the experience overwhelms our ability to attend to the details of 4 See in this volume Artist Talk Komatsu Hiroko x Mitsuda Yuri 39 5 Cairns and Jacobs Buildings Must Die 127 14

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individual prints just as the relentless cyclicality of creative destruction is easily overlooked in our everyday lives In her 2017 artist talk Komatsu says of her work What you can see here are the foundations of society I think it s crucial that there are places where things are exposed where the power of construction and the power of destruction are visible This exhibition understands the sensorial overload in Komatsu Hiroko s installations as a proxy for the psychological Figure 6 Untitled 2017 ramifications of a world ruled by creative destruction As detailed below the excessive use and reuse of photographic prints is also what prevents Komatsu from merely repeating this economic model The multiple indeterminate encounters that become possible in her installations are precisely what enable us to imagine a future that differs from the monotony of creative destruction Photography for a Different Future How does unchecked redevelopment impact our experience of urban environments our sense of place and of history What are the consequences of our era s apparent adversity to age obsolescence patina and grime For Walter Benjamin in the mid twentieth century the ruins of modern consumerism specifically the rundown nineteenth century shopping arcades of Paris were essential for maintaining a critical view of history As Frederic Jameson writes of The Arcades Project Benjamin took his snapshot of the nineteenth century arcade at the moment of its decay and thereby developed a whole 15

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Photography for A Different Future theory about history that you could best understand the present from the standpoint of an immediate past whose fashions were already just a little out of date 6 For Benjamin the defunct shopping arcades functioned as allegories On the verge of ruination these passages had lost their original meaning as signs and thus were able to encompass and allow speculation on multiple temporalities at once their immediate past as vibrant centers of consumer culture their present as obsolete buildings and their future immanent disappearance and replacement by demolition 7 When our surroundings are perpetually renewed do we then risk losing a sense of history and therefore an ability to determine our future Jameson would say yes Along with the disappearance of all the originals he claims is the disappearance of History itself a History that we cannot imagine except as ending and whose future seems to be nothing but a monotonous repetition of what is already here 8 The incessant upheaval of the cityscape in Japan s modern era whether from war ecological disaster or creative destruction under the guise of progress has left little in the way of originals In response to such disappearances not to mention the instantaneous erasure of entire cities by nuclear warfare a preservationist impulse runs through urban photography in postwar and contemporary Japan From concerted efforts to document architectural monuments before their erasure for example the twelvepart series A Requiem for Lost Things published by Fujimori Terunobu s lab at Tokyo University to the photography of buildings in the midst of demolition Miyamoto Ry ji s award winning photobook Architectural Apocalypse to architectural surveys that stitch together panoramic views of entire city streets in order to capture a snapshot of the environment as it temporarily exists Figure 7 all of these efforts rely on photography s documentary capabilities They trust in the medium s supposed objectivity and they are produced and published in serial formats to create visual compendia of building types 6 Frederic Jameson Future City New Left Review 21 May June 2003 69 7 I discuss the significance of Benjamin s Arcades Project for the history of demolition photography in my doctoral dissertation See Carrie Cushman Temporary Ruins Miyamoto Ry ji s Architectural Photography in Postmodern Japan Ph D diss Columbia University 2018 71 6 8 Jameson Future City 75 6 16

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and neighborhoods that appear complete While preserving a certain vision of the city the straight forward presentation of the built environment in these documentary projects fails to account for the lived Figure 7 Kimura Sh hachi and Suzuki Yoshikazu Ginza Hacch The 8th Ginza experience of urban District 1954 Photographic offset lithograph on accordion style sheet Museum space where signs purchase with funds given through the generosity of Linda Wyatt Gruber Class of 1966 2019 1120 2 are fragmented and constantly in flux In this sense the serial projects described above can be understood as symptoms rather than true representations of the times By contrast Komatsu pushes serial photography to its limits in order to call its bluff The incessant nature of her work and the repetition of materials is central to understanding the unique experience of time that visitors to her installations encounter The standardized industrial objects in the images the 8 10 paper and rolls on which she prints the TV monitor the identical pushpins the floor panels to which they are affixed the museum walls seriality and sameness radiates out from the smallest staple to the entire building in which we view her installation There is a pronounced energy that results from these repetitions as the photographed objects the photographs themselves and the viewer s typical experience of both is altered 9 9 See in this volume Franz Prichard Komatsu Hiroko s Photographic Overload 43 17

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Photography for A Different Future Rather than attempting to preserve a historical scene Komatsu s approach to photography can be thought of as a means of preserving a heuristic model of history in which time is wrought not cyclically creative destruction nor linearly photographic timelines but we might say anachronistically In her installations Komatsu does not sequence photographs chronologically either in the 8 10 grids or the rolls There is no way to identify when she shot and printed a particular photograph nor does that photograph as both image and printed material have a coherent temporal relationship to those around it The addition of videos that screen footage from previous shows further disrupts our typical orientation to past and present Like Benjamin s arcades Komatsu s anachronism makes room for the coexistence of multiple experiences of time in a single space 10 Adding to this heterogeneity are the unpredictable ad hoc experiences of individual viewers who are invited to mark time by walking on and moving through the prints scuffing even tearing the paper as they go In a move that often stuns museum professionals Komatsu reuses the worn prints from past exhibitions in configurations for new installations Thus by inviting viewers to actively ruin her photographs Komatsu breaks out of the cyclicality the monotony of creative destruction and restores a sense of history to the environment The ever shifting positions and the particular physicality of each visitor are central to the way that meaning is produced in these installations The visitors relationship with the photographic objects our various interpretations of and interventions in these standardized materials are what keep the work from merely representing or recreating the waste of late capitalism Thus does Komatsu draw museum goers attention away from the photograph as image to focus on the photograph as material generating a uniquely embodied experience of the medium Her installations are a powerful reminder that photography is as Margaret Olin puts it in Touching Photographs a relational art in which meaning is determined not only by what it looks like but also by the relationship 10 On the value of thinking anachronistically see Georges Didi Huberman History and Image Has the Epistemological Transformation Taken Place trans Vivian Rehberg in The Art Historian National Traditions and Institutional Practices ed Michael F Zimmermann Williamstown Sterling and Francine Clark Institute 2003 128 143 18

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we are invited to have with it 11 Photographs are always only fragmentary depictions of their subjects For this reason Komatsu compares the way that photographs convey meaning to the way that language functions specifically the Japanese written language Each individual character or kanji is a symbol with its own internal meaning which shifts when it is combined with other kanji Komatsu hints at this in the unusual titles that she gives each iteration of her work Her installation for the Davis Museum Self Slowing Error includes six kanji oneself rhythm speed or velocity an indicator of degree or number of occurrences disordered and mistake Individually each character has meaning independent of the others but as a group they do not add up to mean anything familiar in the Japanese language hence the awkwardness of the English translation as well This is intended to generate an unstable troubling feeling in the reader as one is forced to pull apart the characters and likewise the photographs to consider their existence as fragments of meaning as well as how they potentially operate when joined together in different combinations versus for example 12 Underscoring the fragmentary nature of photography is yet another way in which Komatsu overrides how photographs typically convey information and asks us to consider the potential for multiple perspectives and indeterminate meanings in crafting a different encounter with the world Significantly Jameson in an attempt to get back to the view of history from Benjamin s decaying arcades also turns to writing There is no way he says to burst through into the future to reconquer difference let alone Utopia except by writing yourself into it He goes on It is the writing that is the battering ram the delirious repetition that hammers away at this sameness running through all the forms of our existence space parking shopping working eating building and pummels them into admitting their own standardized identity with each other beyond colour beyond 11 Margaret Olin Touching Photographs Chicago University of Chicago Press 2012 3 12 Komatsu Hiroko email to the author May 23 2021 19

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texture the formless blandness that is no longer even the plastic vinyl or rubber of yesteryear The sentences are the boom of this repetitive insistence this pounding on the hollowness of space itself and their energy now foretells the rush and the fresh air the euphoria of a relief an orgasmic breaking through into time and history again into a concrete future 13 By inundating us in that sameness and offering opportunities for intervention rather than writing Komatsu photographs us into a different future Photography for A Different Future 13 Jameson Future City 77 Emphasis mine 20

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Translated by Carrie Cushman with Franz Prichard The following conversation took place between Mitsuda Yuri curator of the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art and Komatsu Hiroko on September 9 2017 on the occasion of the exhibition Mirror Behind Hole Photography into Sculpture organized by Mitsuda at Musashino Art University s gallery M in 2017 They discuss Komatsu s rigorous photography regimen and installation process providing insights into her motivations and singular methodology Footnotes have been added by the translators for clarity Artist Talk Komatsu Hiroko x Mitsuda Yuri Artist Talk Komatsu Hiroko x Mitsuda Yuri MY This is Komatsu Hiroko s fourth solo exhibition I think that all of you may have been surprised upon entering the space so I d like to begin by asking her to offer some comments on the exhibition KH For this exhibition I used more than 3 000 prints in rolls that are 110 centimeters wide and 270 meters long There are nine works called wraps in which photo paper and Styrofoam are packed together in transparent wrap MY You ve turned to numbers first Often in explanations of photography exhibitions the theme is discussed as in This is a photograph of blank or This is a documentary where I pursued blank I want to ask you about speaking of exhibitions in terms of numbers such as 3 000 prints 22

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KH For me having a large quantity is important I develop the film and print the 8 10 photographs in a single process and I repeat that process daily When an exhibition is scheduled I determine the installation content according to the size and shape of the space and from there I decide how many photographs will be needed I didn t have a sense of the number of prints for this exhibition My workflow is foremost and from that process I become aware of the numbers MY The first time I saw your work was in 2012 in a one person show that took up all of the vast underground space of the Citizens Gallery at the Meguro Museum of Art I was astonished just as I m sure many people seeing your work for the first time today are I was terribly confused as to whether this person loved or hated photography I think that your reduction of photographs to numbers is certainly extraordinary and related to the fact that from the beginning you have photographed the same types of places What do you call the places that have become your subject matter KH I refer to the places that I shoot as industrial districts All over the country there are so many places where small subcontracted factories are located on the periphery of large factories Industrial districts that sustain the base of the capitalist economy are my subject matter MY Are these storehouses for industrial materials Or are they places where materials are disposed of KH The raw and scrap materials are intermingled I think that the reason the raw materials look the same as the scraps is that they are organized so that they are easy to use according to rules that we do not understand For someone not privy to the shared rules these kinds of places are free of meaning and a sense of openness seems to exist In the text that you wrote for this exhibition you focused on the subject matter and the range at which I shoot When I move toward the piles of materials the objects reveal themselves in different ways with continuous changes in perspective as I move so I proceed while single mindedly pushing the shutter 23

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KH There are large and small spaces but regardless the range at which I shoot does make them look crammed MY I feel like these are not photographs that were taken at a distance but shot facing the objects just as they have been positioned KH That s right MY About how many years have you been doing this kind of photography Artist Talk Komatsu Hiroko x Mitsuda Yuri MY These are by no means spacious places In reality they may be expansive but they look crammed KH I started photography around 2006 so it s been about 10 years MY Has your subject matter changed since you started KH No the subject matter has not changed the entire time MY Has your approach to photography stayed the same as well KH I think there have been small changes but it is basically the same MY What sort of changes have there been KH When I first started I had a rather myopic view I would only see the objects that were right in front of my eyes But I expanded my perspective a bit and became interested in the way the objects were positioned as well as their relationship to the background 24

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MY What is the background KH You know the background against which the objects are positioned By slightly expanding my perspective I no longer saw just the things right in front of me but highways buildings in the background and even more piles of objects became visible I didn t specifically conceive of the layouts of the photographs that I would later print but I started to sense them Before I was paying attention to the lighting and the timing of the photograph but now I feel like it s okay if I make mistakes and I shoot without worrying about it Instead there are even times when I actively welcome mistakes MY For you what is a photograph with mistakes KH For me in the end there are no mistakes But for example when developing negatives if a reel of film has not been rolled correctly there can be parts that are undeveloped because the surfaces have stuck together In general this could be a mistake If you print those undeveloped areas as they are you can create a print in which areas with the image and areas of white exist alongside each other I also use these kinds of prints in exhibitions Generally when printing you do an exposure test to ensure that the tones match well but I print without doing an exposure test so the tones are uneven In considering the final shape of an exhibition the tones may not match exactly but I aim for a tone that is overall a rather bright gray MY So in other words there are no mistakes is that right If there were something that was not a fine art print you might welcome it KH Yes I would quite welcome it However deliberately making a mistake is no good either I try very hard to work on a large scale and while doing my best not to make mistakes I do welcome them MY You aren t aiming for uniform fine art prints Even so each individual photograph is fascinating 25

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KH No they are not in the order in which I shot them I spread out the photographs needed for a single exhibition and from there I select those that will go in the rolls But there is no relationship to the order in which they were photographed when I decide on the lineup MY How do those combinations of photographic sequencing work KH When selecting photographs for the rolls I line up the 8 10 prints and try to imagine what everything will look like together But in the end even when I hang the photos in the exhibition space pile them on top of each other and put them on the walls and I won t take any of them out I can t see the relationship between the adjacent photographs I develop the rolls in my bathroom at home and after rinsing I dry them in a six tatami mat room that I use as a darkroom 1 I spread countless wires across the room about 180 centimeters high and I hang the wet rolls of printed paper on them This is the exact same method as my exhibitions When I dry the 30 meter long rolls by hanging them on wires the room is filled with prints Whether it s in the middle of production or the middle of an exhibition you cannot see the design in its entirety Artist Talk Komatsu Hiroko x Mitsuda Yuri You have a method of exhibition that makes the order in which the photographs were taken completely unintelligible so how are they sequenced Are the rolls in the order in which you shot MY The theme of this exhibition series is photography and sculpture In part it explores ways of fostering a sense of photography that exists within space Your installation does this by drawing the viewers attention to the amount of material What s more in the images there are many objects tightly packed into a single photograph Is it correct to say that since you began taking photographs you have drawn this sense of existence out through both the large amount of material in the images and the vast number of photographic prints 1 Traditional Japanese style rooms are measured by the number of tatami mats A six mat room is approximately 98 8 square feet 26

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KH In my first solo exhibition I placed the rolled prints on the wall in two rows There was nothing else on some of the areas on the gallery walls and floor 2 After that because I started late I decided to do ten years worth of photography in one year So for one year I began running an independent gallery Broiler Space Let s say that it s standard practice for a person to do one solo exhibition a year I put on a show of new work each month based on the wild idea that if I did ten solo shows in one year it would add up to ten years Since this space had originally been used as a two story shop there was little exhibition space I forced myself to incorporate new elements into the exhibitions each and every time When I added the 8 10s and large prints to the rolled prints in the already confined area it was immediately obvious that there wasn t enough space The shape of today s exhibition is the result of slowly moving beyond the walls to putting things on the floor and hanging the rolls on wires due to insufficient wall space MY So this process has led you to exhibiting photographs that are packed together on the floor is that right I visited Broiler Space twice I was surprised by the title that you gave the place and I d like to ask you about the origin of that later It had the atmosphere of the Sh wa era a row of ramen shops along the old K sh Road didn t it 3 KH Mostly it just looked like ruins MY It was an incredible space but viewers couldn t keep up with the monthly exhibitions Did you give the space its name 2 Komatsu s first solo exhibition was Chitan no kokoro Heart of Titanium held in November 2009 at Gallery Yamaguchi in Tokyo Exhibition details can be found in Hiroko Komatsu Exhibition History vol 1 Tokyo Kakeru Okada 2021 3 18 3 The Sh wa reign era lasted from 1926 to 1989 Here Mitsuda references the outdated atmosphere of nondescript stretches of the K sh Road in areas of western Tokyo 27

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MY The title of your current installation The Execution of Personal Autonomy is not something you hear often KH The right to personal autonomy is a legal term that points to the people s right to decide for themselves their own way of living or lifestyle We are supposed to be able to make our own decisions regarding our education and careers relationships whether to get married or not and how to handle our own bodies and lives But in reality I wonder if it is possible to decide and to carry anything out on one s own without being bound to societal norms and conventions It can be surprising how the self is trapped by societal norms and conventions in areas of our daily lives profound areas in which we think we are free This is what gave me the idea for the title Artist Talk Komatsu Hiroko x Mitsuda Yuri KH Yes I m also vegan so for me the space s name and that way of thinking are closely related 4 MY Is it a message for the viewers of the installation KH It doesn t have the assertiveness of a message It can be difficult for a word itself to express something but I think it may be possible to evoke something with a series of words MY What is the relationship between that and photography KH In terms of the difficulty of expressing something on its own I think that words and photography are similar This installation is presented as a single work but it is made by accumulating photographs one by one There is a close relationship between the one by one making of these photographs and my life My life revolves around photography including the shooting the prints made in the darkroom 4 Here Broiler refers to both the machine used to broil meat and to an industrialized breed of chicken raised for meat 28

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in my house and the exhibitions While the title is my idea I myself am at the service of these photographs in all aspects of my life MY The theme of this exhibition is different from saying This is the theme of this work Because the exhibition itself is directly related to your life the feeling of giving a title to the work is also different KH Yes For example I created an installation space based on the original space of gallery M The title is only for the current location because the installations that I create are different each time It is not an expression of some theme for the work that I am constantly producing MY Does that mean that the arrangement can be made to suit any space I think that concept is quite unique KH I can build such a big space working one by one with my daily accumulations through human effort not through a large amount of capital or machinery What I do is reminiscent of the proliferation of life how bodies are formed through the accumulation of cells or forests through an accumulation of trees MY So your secret to being so fit is that you keep working with your own two hands and do so much physically demanding work all the time is that right KH I have a lot of photographs so I want to put out a lot If the wall space is insufficient I feel like the floor will do MY But in the end it feels so hard to walk on the photographs maybe because of something like the saying Don t step on books 29

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MY In the end it s an aggressive ploy isn t it KH Yes in that sense I think it is okay to have photographs on the floor MY As an embodied sensation it makes for an extraordinarily provocative experience Would you explain these wrapped works Artist Talk Komatsu Hiroko x Mitsuda Yuri KH This installation was created under the premise that anyone can come and see it I want to create a situation where people will enter the installation I d like for people to be in it I think that ways of seeing the work change according to people s physicality such as their position or the height at which they stand and even more so according to their state of mind So if the photographs are all over the floor I think that one could even become emotionally unstable laughs KH I have a friend who is not very fluent in Japanese and once out of nowhere he told me that a man s dead body was found wrapped in packing materials in the Sea of Trees near Mount Fuji laughs 5 I wanted to ask him about this but English isn t my strong point either and I don t know if we understood each other in the end What my friend said filled my brain with wild ideas like a B movie plot Was it money trouble or had he known a secret that he shouldn t have I thought that if he was wrapped in a clear plastic sheet then the last sight he probably saw was the forest through the wrap I often see things covered in clear plastic wrap when I m out shooting but after hearing that story I became curious about these wrapped materials that I was used to seeing That person s perspective was from inside the wrap and I was looking at the wrap from the outside While thinking about this I decided to make a work called wrap that covered the photographs 5 The Sea of Trees also known as Aokigahara is a forest on the northwest side of Mount Fuji that has become notorious for the large number of suicides that take place there every year 30

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MY The materials are covered in plastic wrap and you are looking at them from the outside But I wonder if the materials can see the world from inside the wrap the wrap enables this reversal of perspectives KH I can only see in one direction with my eyes but I think there must be a perspective that is not one way MY Do you mean multiple perspectives or perhaps even inverse perspectives KH It can be thought of as multiple perspectives because there doesn t have to be a single subject If you re looking at one subject the inverse perspective is also possible MY It doesn t mean for example that you are wrapping a photograph of materials that have been covered in wrap does it KH Right it doesn t mean that It resembles the exhibition space that I m creating There are multiple perspectives that change according to where you stand This wrap is also a device for multiple perspectives MY In other words one photograph has been taken through one lens so it s a single viewpoint and from there multiple viewpoints are obtained through this copious display of photographs Furthermore the view can completely change depending on where you stand in the installation In this sense the multiple perspectives add up and the wrap is something that partially obstructs the field of vision The wrap itself becomes a distinct layer creating a situation of intricate distortions and permeations not completely only partially obstructing We can perhaps even imagine seeing this way from the standpoint of the photographs What is the thickness of the wrapped photographs about 31

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MY It s like a base You made the invitation for this event with plastic wrap You cut it out of photographic prints didn t you KH I cut each one the same size covered it in wrap and pasted it on the front of the invitation MY You like to make work for yourself don t you Artist Talk Komatsu Hiroko x Mitsuda Yuri KH I was asked before if I wanted to display volume with the thickness of the wrap but it s not about volume My intent is to alter the object of the gaze so in order to make it to stand out I built up the thickness by putting it together with Styrofoam and then wrapping them KH It seems like it laughs MY Not only is there a lot of manual work in the darkroom for your photo production but even when we look at the invitation we can see a ghost of manual labor Does the physical labor of photographic production make you happy KH Yes I suppose so MY Even if what you are shooting isn t quite dystopian it s not happy and harmonious but and I hope I m not mistaken this work actually seems to be immensely enjoyable for you KH The work is enjoyable but if pushed I d say that it is close to manual labor If I admit to it being enjoyable then it becomes a fetish If it becomes a fetish then the distance between me and the things that I make becomes too close which isn t good So I maintain conditions for myself that do not afford enjoyment like trying to make 100 prints in one night or developing a 30 meter roll in the bathroom 32

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MY You have done group exhibitions along with your solo shows What about commissions that ask you to provide three pieces for example What do you do in those cases KH Right now a work that was collected by the MAST Foundation in Italy is being exhibited in a group show When I participated in the Fotofestival in Germany in 2015 I completely filled the walls space and floor with 8 10 prints rolls and wrapped works just like this exhibition 6 The MAST Foundation acquired the 600 prints and 8 wraps that made up the surface of one of the walls That wall was 12 meters long and 3 meters high but I wonder if it can t be thought of as a single entity MY Indeed for your style that is a single entity KH It would be difficult if it were too small but if you have a wall of a certain size you can think about what can be done with it It s possible that you might come up with new ideas when you consider the various limitations MY I d like to ask about your thoughts on photography Who are some of the photographers that you like KH When I was considering what I should do with photography I attended a workshop by Kanemura Osamu I had the opportunity to see one of his exhibitions at the Kawasaki City Museum in 1999 and I remember it was a work that filled a closed off space with photographs on large format paper When I saw it I assumed that he was an artist who made installation works using photography I thought that Kanemura s work was displayed as a collection rather than as individual items and that the entire room was made to be a work of abstract expression materialized through photography Although this is 6 Komatsu s installation Sanitary Bio Preservation was included in the Urbanism and Real Estate section of the 6th Fotofestival exhibition curated by Urs Stahel entitled 7 Places 7 Precarious Fields in Mannheim Ludwigshafen and Heidelberg in September November 2015 33

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MY What do you mean by abstract KH Like how Mark Rothko s brushstrokes and colors overlap when you look closely you can see the brushstrokes and when you move back you can see the field of color Of course drawing by hand is different from using a camera but I thought that Kanemura was doing something similar MY When you said abstract I thought you meant conceptually but you meant abstract painting That s interesting Working at an art museum my job is to explain works of art and I have been asked what Rothko s paintings are about But it s impossible to say This is about fill in the blank Mark Rothko was someone with a lot to say but because he was so obsessively precise his paintings became flatter and flatter In the end I think he confronts just the surface or I should say that s one side of abstraction Is this close to the abstraction that you were thinking of Artist Talk Komatsu Hiroko x Mitsuda Yuri probably a misreading of his work KH It s all about confronting the surface right I think that s close When I saw Kanemura s work I thought that it was a presentation of surface within the printed paper s gradations from white to black MY It s like what Fukuhara Shinz said Photography is gradation 7 That s what you see KH Photography is gradation and at the same time he photographs many things It s strange to say that the subject matter looks the same but Kanemura s photographs can look the same depending on how you look at them This might be influencing me when I create work It s like creating a space where you cannot recall the photographed subject matter in detail later 7 Fukuhara Shinz 1883 1948 was a Japanese pictorialist photographer In addition to running the Shiseid Apothecary now the famous cosmetics company Fukuhara published the magazine Shashin geijutsu Photographic Art and founded the Nihon Shashin Kai The Japan Photographic Society 34

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MY You can t recall it in detail but the whole of it stays with you With abstract painting I think that there is often a certain harmony a sense of creating a single world as a whole But the things that you photograph are the opposite of harmony things that are violently tossed to the point of extreme entropy Each one is a standard size but they are things that have already deviated from the norm I have the impression that the value flattens when they are gathered together KH If we examine them closely overcrowding and depopulation appear to reach the same point As you pointed out my photographic subject is things that are of a standard size but have already deviated from the norm But when I m producing I attach a lot of importance to the standard size I am constantly aware that I am making works using industrial materials For instance even the photographic paper these days it is sold in 20 or 30 meter rolls but I use it as it was made I don t alter the standard size I don t cut it and use only the parts that I need MY Photo paper certainly comes in a standard size and the things that you photograph are also made according to standards What sort of importance do you attach to the standard size KH I think it s a matter of leaving parts of my own work beyond my control MY It s accepting things a priori right With abstract art there is a method of composing called pattern painting in which the painting is made in complete accordance with rules that you create yourself and what I m hearing is that you felt an affinity for this kind of work It s the first time that I have heard of a photographer doing abstraction so I feel like it is good to be able to make that clear that it is a process of abstraction While it s been an interesting conversation I have the feeling that we haven t quite arrived at the secret to your work What else would you like to say today KH Until this show I exhibited in smaller galleries and spaces Because I begin with the size of the 35

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MY I think your work has gradually changed since I first saw it yet your singular process still comes through I still feel like I want to learn more about the secret to your work Do you have any plans after this KH Something that I ve recently added to my installations is an 8 mm film I filmed my installations with an 8 mm camera converted it to digital and I play it in the exhibition space on a CRT television Having a former exhibition brought into another exhibition causes different times to coexist in a single space and it s also connected to arranging the 8 10 prints so that they are detached from any chronological order Light and sound are emitted when you use a projector so I converted the 8 mm film to digital and show it on a DVD At present I am finding it difficult to decide how to handle light and sound as components of the venue I m considering whether I should include not only photography in the exhibition but also for example an 8 mm film that I shot of the industrial districts Artist Talk Komatsu Hiroko x Mitsuda Yuri venue the components of my exhibitions have been growing little by little and it s recently become too much And that has added to the entropy reaching a point where I didn t know what was going on The M gallery s exhibition space is really big and I was very pleased to be able to put on a show that I wanted to do Thank you so much for this opportunity MY I am curious about what sorts of places you are shooting Since 8 mm film is so rare I really want to see it on a projector KH I may come up with ideas for what to include at the exhibition space MY So you are also about to take on film as well You re getting busier and busier Photographic prints and film could be considered classic techniques but photography is headed in the direction of data 36

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You are going in the other direction so do you have any thoughts on digital photography KH When I first started photography shooting in monochrome and developing and printing myself was the cheapest way that I could work with large quantities It s precisely because of that that I began including a large number of prints in a single exhibition MY It was cheap and simple but that s no longer the case KH But film and photographic prints are still in circulation so I think as long as they continue so will I There is certainly a way to say that digital photography is photography but I think that photography that uses monochrome film is a separate medium MY I think it s quite difficult to group everything from daguerreotypes to albumen prints gelatin silver and digital together under the word photography because they each have quite different characteristics You want to go as far as you can with the medium of your choice right I thought that was the case Now let s open it up for questions Questioner 1 I m wondering about your motivation and reasons for choosing photography KH It s because I can do it alone I also started because there s nothing heavy involved and it doesn t require complicated or expensive equipment I don t need motivation to continue the work I ve already decided to do it There isn t much emotion to it I do it because I ve decided to do it MY I heard that before photography you made music what kind KH I m embarrassed to say that it was kind of loud I understand now that music is also something that you can do on your own but at the time I thought that music was something born of human 37

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Questioner 2 The size of the photographic paper is different but could you please tell us about the types of film and equipment that you use KH Everything is made with a 35 mm camera I only have one camera the Leica M3 that I use but it doesn t have a light meter I operate the aperture and shutter speed based on my intuition so it s a good camera for welcoming mistakes And because you can t get a negative with a uniform appearance when I print without an exposure test happily the results are varied Questioner 2 Don t you also use a red or yellow filter Artist Talk Komatsu Hiroko x Mitsuda Yuri relationships so I didn t think that I could do it by myself KH The contrast is slightly increased with a red or yellow filter and they make everything look like a cool photo so I don t use them Questioner 2 Do you trim the large format paper KH The large format paper is a test piece for the rolls I do a test as you would when developing the rolls Then I make the wrapped works by packaging the test pieces Questioner 3 I am reminded of the Bechers first book Anonymous Sculpture A Typology of Industrial Buildings that s made up of individual photographs but the overall feel matches 8 I d like to ask you about the possibility of such a typology 8 In 1970 the German photographers Bernd Becher 1931 2007 and Hilla Becher 1934 2015 published the influential photobook Anonymous Sculpture A Typology of Industrial Buildings a collection of photographs of defunct industrial buildings such as silos blast furnaces and gasometers The Bechers serial presentation of the photographs elevates the subject matter to the realm of aesthetic contemplation as viewers are able to identify commonalities and variations among the respective typologies hence their description of these buildings as anonymous sculpture 38

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KH Made up of individual photographs but the overall feel matches that s right You can t construct a space just from a large number of photographs Each photograph must be precise I had a major failure with an exhibition when I created a space mainly from rolls and tried to add a large number of 8 10 prints I wondered what it would look like to try and display a lot of the remaining 8 10 prints along with the rolls after I had selected the photographs to print as rolls from the 8 10s that I normally print and I actually exhibited it It made the wall that was made up of the 8 10 prints look weak and really bad We re not talking about music but just like what happens when you repeatedly hit a percussion instrument each individual sound needs to be precise I think that you have to compose with the strength of each individual photograph Questioner 3 What do you think of the comparison to the Bechers KH I don t do that style of presentation but I certainly shoot a lot of the same types of things so I think it s possible to gather only images of wooden pallets or only blue sheets MY The Bechers regard things like solo water towers as anonymous sculpture but your focus is on the practical installations that someone has arranged The surface of the city in the twenty first century is immaculate but as the factory installations where work is being done seem to be quite similar to each other it might be possible to see a typology You picture things that we don t normally see and their power comes from that fact that the things that cannot be seen are confronting us here Based on today s discussion you may not be a social documentary photographer but even if it s not quite social criticism I think that there is a message to be found in the depths of this work KH What I m revealing what you can see here are the foundations of society I think it s crucial that there are places where things are exposed where both the power of construction and the power of destruction are visible 39

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KH Thank you Artist Talk Komatsu Hiroko x Mitsuda Yuri MY It s practical so it has become unavoidable to do it this way Filled and crammed with things that we don t normally have the chance to see it s not a counterattack but a place where things emerge from beyond the surface The words The Execution of Personal Autonomy are certainly interesting but when it comes to execution it makes me feel something about all these materials And it is an assemblage of materials that has a different principle of combination from say that of traditional aesthetics like flower arranging or hanging scrolls I feel like The Execution of Personal Autonomy turns things inside out Thank you everyone 40

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By Franz Prichard Komatsu Hiroko generates an abundance of photographic prints for her site specific installations both as neatly arranged photographs and also as large rolls of industrial grade photographic paper suspended vertically spilled over the print covered floor and unrolled around each gallery s unique space The experience of being swallowed up within the installation evokes inexpressible sensations and the abundance of photographs and multiple photographic materials unsettles the dominant modes of visual consumption Komatsu s installation practice invites us into an experience of photography that enables embodied forms of affect generated through specific photochemical and material processes Komatsu Hiroko s Photographic Overload Komatsu Hiroko s Photographic Overload To describe our active engagement with Komatsu s photography as viewing is insufficient it is a fullbody experience with multi sensorial aspects I see Komatsu s photography as an interface that amplifies the exchanges between the photographic prints photographed materials and our embodied responses to her work Drawing parallels to positive feedback loops performatively invoked in experimental noise music I suggest an aesthetics of overload generated by Komatsu s photography Komatsu photographically rather than sonically renders a noisy expressive form of feedback that saturates our sensorial capacities through each installation s assemblage of material practices Komatsu s 2017 installation at Musashino Art University s gallery M The Execution of Personal Autonomy consisted of over 3 000 8 10 inch photographic prints 885 feet of photographic paper 42

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rolls nine rolls each almost 100 feet long by 4 feet wide and nine photographic prints 20 24 inches mounted on panels and wrapped in packing wrap one CRT monitor displaying a video transfer of an 8mm film and one short text While it is difficult to grasp by numbers alone the immediate impact is the overwhelming magnitude of photographs encompassing the viewers as they traverse the gallery space Stepping precariously upon the carefully arranged prints on the floor the viewer is at once compelled to enter into direct contact with and become encompassed by the installation With floors and walls covered the space is filled further with long rolls of large photographic paper suspended at varying intervals by wires unrolled in overlapping piles and unfurled across the smaller prints on the floor Except for the ceiling each plane of the gallery contains multiple photographic points of view denying the fixed distances through which the viewing of photographs is typically derived Moreover the viewer is confronted with manifold layers of prints and rolls of photochemical paper in defiance of the singular frames that typically govern art objects in gallery spaces Meaning is usually thought to be produced by viewing photographs in isolation or in sequences While the imagery itself is clear in each of Komatsu s photographs the excessive amount of printed material unsettles these codified modes of viewing Still meaning is not effaced through the proliferation of the photographs Rather Komatsu seeks different types of meanings through the amplification of photochemical processes and materials As a practice of photography that does not rely on communicative models of information or aesthetic transmission what are some ways we can make sense of the provocative embodied affects that Komatsu s installations generate The Invisible Infrastructures of Urban Life According to Komatsu she has been photographing industrial sites around Tokyo for roughly ten years never returning to the same place more than once Of these most are secondary industrial sites places 43

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Komatsu Hiroko s Photographic Overload where materials are stored for use by utility companies for the production of construction materials for use in food processing and as part of the process of manufacturing 1 Referring to such areas as industrial districts Komatsu describes how these sites make up a vast continuum of small to large companies that constitute the base of the capitalist economy 2 Despite the impression of cluttered things that could be either discarded scrap or unused materials Komatsu describes her efforts to photograph the ever shifting appearances of things that have been arranged according to obscure rules determined by their use at each site 3 For instance in Komatsu s photographs we find chaotic butordered piles such as steel used in concrete construction photographed from a relatively fixed proximity often including different angles on the same cluster of objects as the artist traverses the site 4 Although the rules governing the ordered arrangement of accumulated materials may be unknown to both Komatsu and the viewer Komatsu s specific approach to photographing the vibrant life worlds of things neither beautifies nor deprives them of any charm Instead her laborious photographic attention to the messy specificities of each site carefully renders the industrial materials more like 1970s conceptual art installations than a typology of vernacular industrial architecture akin to that of Bernd and Hilla Becher or the ready mades of high modernism 5 What becomes clear through Komatsu s photographs of industrial sites might be described as the material unconscious of the myriad invisible 1 Komatsu Hiroko Basho no gengoka putting place into language posted January 7th 2017 http komatsu hiroko com essays 5 Komatsu has written much about her work in a series of short essays posted on her website an indispensable resource for learning more about the extensive range of her work 2 Komatsu uses the term substructure in its Marxian sense See in this volume Artist Talk Hiroko Komatsu x Yuri Mitsuda 23 3 Ibid 4 This is especially clear in the handmade photobooks such as Port Area Sakai Osaka 12 00 14 00 May 4 2010 self published in 2016 Komatsu describes her approach to these photobooks and their relation to the shooting location in Essay 11 Sastuei Basho Shooting Location posted March 11th 2017 http komatsu hiroko com essays 11 5 In fact Komatsu has noted her interest in Mono ha the 1960s Japanese conceptual art movement led by Lee Ufan and Sekine Nobuo and the resemblance of these industrial sites with art installations in her interview with critic Takazawa Kenji in Asahi Camera April 2018 44

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indeterminate processes at play in the ceaseless reproduction of an urban expanse under capitalist relations of production Komatsu s photographic subjects make present the immense unfamiliar infrastructures and logistics of a capitalist urban order that intimately informs our everyday but that remain always just beyond the thresholds of our awareness 6 Photographic Overload How does the viewer fit within this assemblage of photographic materialities and photographed things One possible way to grasp the dynamic interplay of Komatsu s installation practice is in relation to the musical anti genre of noise music David Novak s seminal study of Japanese noise music Japanoise Music at the Edge of Circulation vividly details the predominance of the generation of sonic feedback by noise musicians making use abuse of commonly available musical equipment patched together in creative ways The hallmark of these performances is intensive forms of exchange between the noisicians their assembled sound systems and the audience through which feedback is unleashed and modulated in a variety of ways Crucially Novak notes the nonlinear nature of the positive feedback loops generated in these performances Rather than being absorbed in homeostasis and control individual differences can also be accumulated and amplified In fact feedback often spins out of control precisely because senders and receivers are not invested in continuing a holistic social field of transmission or in emulating past performances Instead they change direction When feedback becomes generative of something new in the case of audio circuits when it becomes a sound in itself it is described as positive Positive feedback loops are not self regulating but self reinforcing They amplify change with each cycle emphasizing the gain 6 Komatsu describes her efforts to render sensible the entanglement of capitalist modes of production and modes of destruction materialized at these specific industrial sites in Essay 13 Hakai no seisan The Production of Destruction posted March 24th 2017 http komatsu hiroko com essays 13 Obviously for those working at such sites the connective relations among these materials and their role in the reproduction of a normative urban order is a lived intimacy rather than a photographed proximity 45

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of new results over continuity and balance 7 Although I don t think we can simply attribute the similarities between noisicians predilection for positive feedback and Komatsu s photographic process to her background as an experimental musician there is a profound resonance between the two modalities The key differences are also telling each generates its own form of intensive embodiment one based on primarily auditory intensities the other on primarily visual intensities although both are arguably multi sensorial as well However to understand how a noise like production of positive feedback might be operative in Komatsu s work it is useful to flesh out the self reinforcing loops informing the installation s material processes First Komatsu s installation is not invested in the reproduction of homeostasis and equilibrium We have seen how Komatsu s work disrupts the self contained circuits of static meanings how the unsettling embodied affects that the installations generate are not products of a unidirectional process of representation or signification originating in the photographed things and terminating in the viewers gaze Instead a feedback loop is generated through the viewer s embodied experience of two discrete domains within the capitalist relations of production and consumption Komatsu s installation process and the flood of photographic materials produce a momentary self reinforcing interface between the sites of capital reproduction the industrial districts and the gallery space By bridging these seemingly discrete poles of capitalist economic orders the cascading materialities within and of the photographic interface overload the static hierarchies that divide these spaces Second the continuous evolution of the material processes mobilized in each installation establishes an intensive mode of positive feedback among each iteration of Komatsu s work amplifying and modulating the interface of the installation anew each time Komatsu s continual process of reinstalling portions of prior works and modifying the installation s contours with novel additions and subtractions further overloads the bounded spatialtemporal dimensions sustaining the reproduction of value whether artistic or monetary within the circuits of capital Komatsu Hiroko s Photographic Overload 7 David Novak Japanoise Music at the Edge of Circulation Durham Duke University Press 2013 152 46

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In Komatsu s installations the interface among industrial and photographic materialities are visually overloaded through this dual loop exchange saturating the viewer s sensorial capacities with materialities amplified through the installation process In so doing flows of matter and energy are diverted and re mediated from their established pathways and the viewers own embedded positions within capital s reproductive logistics are made sensible as parts of a momentary assemblage The unsettled sensations unleashed through Komatsu s photography register these flows as the embodiment of an intensively affirmative mode of feedback and exchange Komatsu s photographic overload offers a crucial counterpoint to the normalizing force of the sensorial inundations that inform the urban milieu By transposing the ordered chaos of industrial sites into the art complex Komatsu s photography registers a novel embodied sense of art s own managed environments Becoming simultaneously engulfed within both the material substrates of capital s reproductive infrastructures and the aesthetic superstructures the viewer s bodily capacities become enmeshed with the overload of photographic materialities in the gallery space Komatsu s installations enable visitors to embody diffuse processes that supersede human centric understandings of autonomous subjectivities and hierarchies of meaning The overloading of affect generates an acute attunement to our embeddedness within innumerable material processes critical to the reproduction of our everyday lives in an urban milieu such as the regulatory regimes of waste management and pollution control the indeterminate influences of autonomous algorithmic data processes or the involuntary administrative protocols governing whose lives and deaths matter Komatsu s photographic overload thus opens and perforates the bounded perspectives of the individuated human subject to an encounter with transformative potentials for differently understanding the relations among worlds humans and nonhumans 47

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Experimental Visual Research in the Context of The Work of Art in the Age of Post Industrial Society Walk the Apocalypse Walk the Apocalypse Komatsu Hiroko s By Umezu Gen It s the fall of 2017 at Tokyo s Gallery M A solo exhibition of works by Komatsu Hiroko an overwhelming corpus of work a thicket of printing paper a flood of printing paper Pushing my way through that forest minding my feet and walking around Carl Andre s book Quincy comes to mind I am struck by the idea that I am wandering the landscapes presented in that book Treading on Komatsu s photographs Walk the Apocalypse is the phrase that springs to mind although Komatsu and Andre s photographs are just ordinary scenes Komatsu and Andre come from different places but they have one thing in common their work stands within the emerging art of post industrial society encapsulating a firm overview of the trends in the art world since the Minimal Art movement of the late 1960s Andre is a well known representative of that movement but Komatsu is of a different generation In Japan the Mono ha movement appeared in the late 1960s In the context of over fifty years now of post industrial society from the period of the Mono ha movement to present day Komatsu can be seen broadly speaking as part of this postindustrial society If Mono ha was the manifestation of a keen response to the dawn of post industrial society with materiality as its medium Komatsu Hiroko is an artist who manifests a keen response 50

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to the twilight of post industrial society with photographs and images as her medium While most Mono ha works were ephemeral the visual identity of the works depended on photographs Therefore with Mono ha one encounters a situation where both the reality of the artwork and its recollection via photographs are evoked simultaneously Komatsu s photographs are filled with a sensibility that strongly resembles that expressed in the documentary photographs of Mono ha works they invert the expression Mono ha photographs into photographic Mono ha This inverted world leads to deconstruction disintegration collapse and elimination Alluding to the fact that at some point all things decay Komatsu s photographs show that production and destruction are one and the same This is the manifestation of her keen response to the twilight of post industrial society The images shown in Komatsu s exhibition play a very important role A primitive CRT monitor seems to come flying out of one of her photographs imparting the sense that the world inside the photograph is suddenly right before our eyes And then scenes of Komatsu s past exhibitions appear on the monitor implying that we have left reality behind We are giddy and under assault and we don t know where we are That is because we appear to be both looking at Komatsu s show and also to be inside the scenes of her past exhibitions as shown in the monitor In recent years images projected on the floor have conveyed the sense of a bottomless swamp revealing the cyclical process of Komatsu s production and exhibition in an even more entrancing fashion Reflexiveness is an important quality in Komatsu s images There are two aspects to this reflexiveness The first involves the fact that in Komatsu s installations an overwhelming quantity of printing paper fills the exhibition space The reflexiveness in Komatsu s work is a visual phenomenon analogous to acoustic feedback or howling in a musical context In other words Komatsu s exhibitions are flooded with printing paper causing the photographs to howl Secondly in the field of sociology there is a concept known as reflexive modernization This refers to the possibility of the creative self destruction of the era of industrial society From this theory we can 51

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Walk the Apocalypse see that the principle of reflexive modernization also applies to art The art of post industrial society shows us the limits and contradictions of modernism and how modernism is destroyed from within This is where the importance of Komatsu Hiroko s work can be seen in its radical logic of subjectless ness and object less ness her photographs are the nullification of expression in the modern sense Also if we consider the argument that a society in which reflexiveness is expanding is marked by both the disappearance of tradition and the rediscovery of that tradition Komatsu s photographs and images may seem to suggest that traditional methods have been ruined At the same time however they remind us that forgotten methods are also being rediscovered Walk the Apocalypse If you linger as you walk through Komatsu Hiroko s exhibition the experience will lay bare what it means to live day to day in post industrial society whether you want it to or not Facing those base materials directly proceeding slowly through the exhibition as if for all time we may come to see what the world will look like after humans disappear the World of the Book of Revelations 52

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Plates The following plates include installation views of Komatsu Hiroko Creative Destruction at the Davis Museum reproductions of Komatsu s hand drawn plans for the exhibition and a selection of individual photographs all taken by the artist in 2017 that appear in the exhibition 53

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77 Figure 1 2010 2011

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Linda Wyatt Gruber 66 1969 2000 1 1 Yoshiaki Kai The Predicament and the Reflexive Turn Japanese Street Photography since 1990 Review of Japanese Culture and Society 31 2019 99 78

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CRT 2017 2010 2011 1 5 1960 2017 79

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Figures 2 5 2010 2011 80

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2021 Buildings Must Die 2 3 4 2 Stephen Cairns and Jane M Jacobs Buildings Must Die A Perverse View of Architecture Cambridge The MIT Press 2014 54 3 Ibid 197 4 x 105 81

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1940 1964 2021 1980 5 20 Figure 6 Untitled 2017 6 5 Cairns and Jacobs Buildings Must Die 127 82

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2017 20 19 The Arcades Project 19 6 7 6 Frederic Jameson Future City New Left Review 21 May June 2003 69 7 Carrie Cushman Temporary Ruins Miyamoto Ry ji s Architectural Photography in Postmodern Japan Ph D diss Columbia University 2018 71 6 83

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Figure 7 1954 8 12 Architectural Apocalypse 7 8 Jameson Future City 75 6 84

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TV 9 10 9 108 10 Georges Didi Huberman History and Image Has the Epistemological Transformation Taken Place trans Vivian Rehberg in The Art Historian National Traditions and Institutional Practices ed Michael F Zimmermann Williamstown Sterling and Francine Clark Institute 2003 128 143 85

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Touching Photographs 11 12 11 Margaret Olin Touching Photographs Chicago University of Chicago Press 2012 3 12 2021 5 23 86

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13 13 Jameson Future City 77 87

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2 3 4 1970 5 6 1 2017 1 7 http komatsu hiroko com essays 5 2 x 91 3 4 2016 Port Area Sakai Osaka 12 00 14 00 May 4 2010 Essay 11 2017 3 11 http komatsu hiroko com essays 11 5 1960 2018 4 6 Essay 13 2017 3 24 http komatsu hiroko com essays 13 110

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David Novak Japanoise Music at the Edge of Circulation 7 2 7 David Novak Japanoise Music at the Edge of Circulation Durham Duke University Press 2013 152 111

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2017 M QUINCY BOOK Walk the Apocalypse 1960 1960 50 116

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Biography 1969 2018 Born in Kanagawa Japan Received the 43rd Kimura Ihei Award Solo Exhibitions 2009 Titanium s Heart Gallery Yamaguchi Tokyo 2010 Speedometer Gallery Q Tokyo 2010 11 Broiler Space Monthly exhibitions independently ran by the artist Broiler Space Tokyo 2011 Organic Contexture of Capital Gallery Q Tokyo Expansion Slot Toki Art Space Tokyo Suicide Diathesis Yokohama Civic Gallery Azamino Kanagawa 2012 Son nom de Broiler Space dans Calcutta d sert Citizen s Gallery Meguro Museum of Art Tokyo Parallel Ruler Gallery Q Tokyo Inquiries of a Concerned Party photographers gallery Kula Photo Gallery Tokyo 2013 Embodiment of Public Nature Gallery Q Tokyo Poisoned Dish Principle photographers gallery Kula Photo Gallery Tokyo 2014 Qualitative Multitude Toki Art Space Tokyo Welding of Memories The White Tokyo Double Constraint Gallery Q Tokyo 2015 Disclosed Self Consciousness The White Tokyo The Ingredients for Families Toki Art Space Tokyo 2016 Existence Artist The White Tokyo 2017 Mirror Behind Hole Photography into Sculpture Vol 4 Komatsu Hiroko gallery M Tokyo 119

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2018 Non Marginal Utility RAINROOTS MUNO Nagoya The 43rd Kimura Ihei Award Winner s Exhibition Nikon THE GALLERY Shinjuku Tokyo The 43rd Kimura Ihei Award Winner s Exhibition Nikon Plaza Osaka Osaka 2019 Third Party Remote Authentication HIJU GALLERY Osaka Bioprice Guarantee IG Photo Gallery Tokyo 2021 Self Poisoning Enlightenment Alt_Medium Tokyo Group Exhibitions 2012 Exhibition of Kanemura Osamu Workshop Repeat after me vol 1 The Gallery Tokyo Exhibition of Kanemura Osamu Workshop Repeat after me vol 2 The Gallery Tokyo 2015 6th Fotofestival Mannheim Ludwigshafen Heidelberg ZEPHYR Germany 2016 RESET II AND FUTURISM Galerie Priska Pasquer Germany 2017 THE POWER OF IMAGES MAST Foundation Italy SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK Gallery LeDeco Tokyo 2019 DECODE Events Materials The Work of Art in the Age of Post Industrial Society The Museum of Modern Art Saitama Japan 2021 Ocular Inverse Transgression MEM Tokyo Public Collections MAST Foundation Italy Tate Modern United Kingdom Kawasaki City Museum Japan The Art Institute of Chicago USA To stay up to date with Komatsu Hiroko s work please visit www komatsu hiroko com 120

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1969 2018 43 2009 2010 Q 2010 11 2011 Q 2012 Q photographers gallery Kula Photo Gallery 2013 Q photographers gallery Kula Photo Gallery 2014 The White Q 2015 The White 2016 The White 2017 vol 4 gallery M 121

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2018 RAINROOTS MUNO 43 Nikon THE GALLERY 43 2019 HIJU GALLERY IG Photo Gallery 2021 Alt_Medium 2012 Repeat after me vol 1 The Gallery Repeat after me vol 2 The Gallery 2015 6th Fotofestival Mannheim Ludwigshafen Heidelberg ZEPHYR 2016 RESET II AND FUTURISM Galerie Priska Pasquer 2017 THE POWER OF IMAGES MAST SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK Gallery LeDeco 2019 DECODE 2021 MEM MAST Tate Modern The Art Institute of Chicago 122

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Bibliography Publications Exhibition History Vol 1 Text by Umezu Gen Tokyo paper company 2021 Handmade Photobooks corrosion 2 20 editions Man Cave 2021 corrosion 1 20 editions Man Cave 2020 Slope Way Inagi Tokyo 13 00 15 00 October 13 2009 100 editions 2018 Port Area Sakai Tokyo 12 00 14 00 May 4 2010 100 editions 2016 Son nom de Broiler Space dans Calcutta d sert 300 editions 2012 Book 1 gelatin silver prints handbound by the artist 2012 Exhibition Catalogues Self Poisoning Enlightenment Text by Mitsuda Yuri Tokyo paper company 2021 DECODE Events Materials The Work of Art in the Age of Post Industrial Society Saitama Museum of Modern Art Saitama 2019 Masterworks of Industrial Photography Exhibitions 2017 Mast Foundation Capolavori della fotografia industriale Mostre 2017 Fondazione Mast Bologna MAST Foundation Electa 2019 Urs Stahel ed 7 Places 7 Precarious Fields Heidelberg Kehrer Verlag 2015 123

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Author Biographies Carrie Cushman is the Linda Wyatt Gruber Class of 1966 Curatorial Fellow in Photography at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College She holds a Ph D in Art History from Columbia University and is a specialist in postwar and contemporary photography from Japan Her current book project Temporary Ruins Photography in Late Modern Japan examines the ruin as a central motif in contemporary Japanese photography Linda Wyatt Gruber Class of 1966 Curatorial Fellow in Photography Temporary Ruins Photography in Late Modern Japan Franz Prichard teaches in the Department of East Asian Studies at Princeton University His work explores the literature visual media and critical thought of contemporary Japan His first book Residual Futures The Urban Ecologies of Literary and Visual Media of 1960s and 1970s Japan 2019 examines the rapid transformation of the urban and media ecologies of Japanese literary and visual media of the 1960s and 70s Residual Futures The Urban Ecologies of Literary and Visual Mediaof 1960s and 1970s Japan 1960 1970 124

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Umezu Gen was born in 1966 He received his Master s Degree from the Graduate School at Tama Art University in 1991 From 1991 to 2021 he was the Curator of Modern Art at The Museum of Modern Art Saitama His exhibitions include Matter and Perception 1970 Mono ha and the Search for Fundamentals 1995 Donald Judd 1960 1991 1999 and DECODE Events Materials The Work of Art in the Age of Post Industrial Society 2019 among others 1966 1991 2021 1970 1995 1960 1991 1999 DECODE 2019 125

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Komatsu Hiroko Creative Destruction Text by Carrie Cushman Komatsu Hiroko Mitsuda Yuri Franz Prichard Umezu Gen Translated by Carrie Cushman Franz Prichard The Translation Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Designed by Alicia LaTores Edited by Carrie Cushman Lisa Fischman Colleen Berry First edition January 25 2022 Published by Davis Museum at Wellesley College 2022 Davis Museum at Wellesley College 127 2022 1 25 1

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