Risaku Suzuki ”半島”

– Peninsula – photographs
October 9th – December 6th, 2013

The Peninsula

My birthplace, Shingu, Wakayama Prefecture, is located in the southern part of the Kii Peninsula. In that region, where the ridges stretch at altitudes of 1500 to 1900 meters, mountain worship has been popular since ancient times. That area has been called “Kumano,” which derived from the word “kuma/komoru” (to hide), and can be defined as “a sacred place where gods reside” or “a place where the spirits of the dead dwell.”
There is a small area of level land along the periphery of the peninsula. It is in that stretch of land that I grew up, as I gazed upon the mountainous views and the vast vista of the Pacific. After I left my hometown to live in Tokyo at the age of eighteen, I realized the unique and appealing features of the place where I was born and raised. Thus, I have created works based on the theme of landscapes in Kumano. I had always thought that Kumano landscapes would invariably exist in a different time axis than the one in which changes are rapidly made by man. Hence, releasing the shutter to photograph nature used to be the act of presenting my own perceptions within the boundless passage of time.
Unfortunately, the severe flood disaster that hit the Kii Peninsula in September 2011 wiped out the sites I had photographed, while also tying down to the past those landscapes that were fixed in films. It was quite a shock that the scenes that I believed were connected to the memories of ancient times had been destroyed. I felt as if the Kumano landscapes were asking me the reason why I take photos.
Therefore, I once again headed to the Kumano forest. My purpose was not about taking “documents.” The theme of my works in this exhibition is for me to face the subjects that lay before my eyes.

Risaku Suzuki