【Column】Time with Antiques / Kazuhei Kimura

2024.05.24 BLOG

I like old things that fit in the palm of my hand, and if I find something I like in an antique store or flea market, I buy it without thinking. I first became interested in antiques in my late teens, shortly after I moved to Tokyo. At that time, I had even less money than I do now, so I started buying antique furniture and figurines, not because of their so-called rarity, or where they were made, or how old they were, but simply out of a desire to "get something I like the look of at a reasonable price."

In the town where I lived as a teenager, there was a store that was more like a recycling store than an antique store, and I spent so much of my free time going there. The store was about the size of a street Chinese restaurant, and it was crammed with a quantity of antiques, from large pieces of furniture to small figurines, that completely exceeded the capacity of the space. I would stay there for a long time and , just like searching for gold by the river, I would look for something I liked and buy it to make it a part of my room. Not only when I found something that sparked, but also when I couldn't find anything, the act of searching itself was a joy.

More than 10 years have passed since then. My interest in antiques continues, but the objects that interest me have changed slightly over the years. In the past, I was interested in objects that had a specific purpose - shelves, lamps, vases, and figurines with clear motifs - but lately I have been attracted to objects whose original purpose is unclear or whose qualities transcend their original use.

There are about three antique stores that I frequent, and they all have a few things in common. They have far fewer items than the stores I used to frequent, and the items on the shelves change dramatically each time I visit. Despite the similarities, the spaces created by each store owner's aesthetic sense have a completely different feel.

For example, a box of paper tanned by age, a roll of unused plastic tape, a scratched glass plate, a case that looks like it could hold ointments, overly long matches, and a paperweight that looks like a mouse but is not a mouse. The way they are placed and their relationship to other objects nearby gives them a whole new light.

When I buy something I like, the first thing I do is photograph it. I place it on a piece of black paper and take a quick shot with the macro mode of the GR, taking as little time as possible. I want to keep doing this just for my own enjoyment.

I collect small things one by one and put them in corners of my room. I move things around according to my mood, change their orientation, and explore their relationships to the things around them. Time passes quickly when I do this. Arranging things at home and thinking about the composition of an exhibition are very similar. Sometimes an idea for an exhibition comes to me while I am arranging things. This is a very important time for me.

Kazuhei Kimura
Born in 1993 in Iwaki, Fukushima. Lives and works in Tokyo. While working in the fields of fashion, film and advertising, he continues to create works that move back and forth between his childhood experiences and his present life. Won the Judges Encouragement Prize (selected by Nozomi Himeno) at the 19th Photography 1_WALL and the Grand Prix at IMA next #6 ‘Black&White'. Major solo exhibitions include 'Ishi to momo (Counterpoint)' (Roll) in 2023 and 'Atarashii mado (The Other Side of the Window)' (Book and Sons) in 2020. Major photobooks include 'Sodemaku' and 'Todai' (both aptp) and 'Atarashii mado (The Other Side of the Window)' (Akaakasha).
Kazuhei Kimura (@kazuheikimura)

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