【Column】A Moment in Time, or a Specific Period of Time / Robert Adachi

2023.01.27 BLOG

This was at the end of 2022.

I went to see Atsushi Suwa's solo exhibition 'Fire in the Medial Orbito-Frontal Cortex' at the Fuchu Art Museum in Tokyo.

Suwa is a painter who continues to expand the concept of painting and the act of 'seeing'.

Described as 'photographic' because of their realism, his works are in fact quite different in nature from photographs.

While he does not deny that he uses photographs as a support, he also states that “the act of painting by matching the surface of an object as if crawling over it with the gaze is completely different from simply copying a photograph” and that “I am not trying to depict a frozen moment, but rather the compression of a certain period of time in which I paint” (Atsushi Suwa + Akiko Otake, “E ni shika dekinai (Only a picture can do it)”, Katarikoko Bunko).

One of the things that characterises his work is the meticulous research that requires time and space. When he wants to depict a particular person, he researches the person's upbringing and social background, visits the environment where the person has lived, and even sketches things around the person that he will not paint in the finished picture.

In "Eriko", for example, he was asked by the parents of Eriko, who had died in an accident shortly before her marriage, to bring their daughter back to life. Looking for clues, he examines their belongings, conducts interviews, sketches the parents and even asks a craftsman to make a prosthetic hand from a photograph of Eriko's hand that was left behind.

The resulting work may be 'photographic' in the sense that it is realistic, but each brushstroke represents the period of time and space that cannot be seen on the surface, as well as the artist's intention.

By the way, I first met Atsushi Suwa around 2009 in a gallery in Tokyo. When I introduced myself by saying that I had taken the catalogue photos of the GR DIGITAL III, I remember being very pleased when he told me that he had bought it because he liked the photographs in the catalogue.

After seeing him for the first time in a long time at the exhibition and looking at his work, a thought occurred to me.

His works take an enormous amount of time to create. The words that go with his work are also probably very well thought out and very profound.

They do not lend themselves well to photo-sharing sites and social media, where high frequency of uploads is required and the easy-to-understand gets the votes. The nature of these sites, which are quickly scrolled through on smartphones and consumed as 'content', contrasts with that of his work.

Devoting time and space to a work of art. The preciousness of it.

While exploring the possibilities of expression through capturing the moment with the GR, a camera that is evolving for faster shooting and sharing, I was reminded that I should be able to express a certain period of time and a certain depth of time.

Photos taken with GR IIIx

Robert Adachi
Having always been interested in how we connect and create, Adachi studied foreign languages, programming languages and art as a teenager, studied international law and global issues at the university, began composing music at the age of 22, and self-taught photography at 32. He was in charge of the brochure/official sample photos of the GR DIGITAL III, GXR, and GR. Composed the original music for “GR Concept Movie.” Received many awards worldwide in fine art. His publications include photobook “Clarity and Precipitation” (arD).

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