“I wanted to take something that only I could take [..]” - the artist
Q: What led you to become a photographer?
A; When I was a college student, I saw Diane Arbus's "Untitled" and was struck by lightning. Then, I bought Nikon's FM2 and started taking pictures of everyday landscapes, seniors of band, etc. However, it took no time to get to know that my photo is one of a number of similar pictures. I wanted to take something that only I could take, and I aimed for a photographer in earnest.
Q: Where have you studied and how long have you been an artist?
A: I majored in aesthetics and art historiography at Keio University in Tokyo. From that time I was interested in photography, but after graduating from college I learned skills professionally. I worked in a liquor store and pursued photography in the evenings at Tokyo College of Photography in Yokohama.
“How long have you been an artist?” There are three answers to this question. First, in the sense that all humans are artists, I was already an artist since I was born. Next, in the sense that the work makes him an artist, I think that I am now becoming an artist. Finally, in the sense that an artist is a person who makes a living by the work, I have not become an artist yet.
Q. Where do you derive your over all inspiration from?
A: In the sense that " something breathes life into the work", I will not be inspired from something to make a work. My aim is to just face the subject, and scoop up "presence" that constantly going to disappear. I have to throw away creative moods, ideas, internal refining, and even myself. Although, I do not know if the attempt is successful in my work.
However, there are so many artists I have been influenced. Jan Grover, Shiryu Morita, Robert Motherwell, Mokkei, Francis Ponge, Lee UFan, Jean Arp, Tohaku Hasegawa, Mark Rothko, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Alberto Giacometti, Robert Ryman, Basho Matsuo, Henri Matisse, and many many more.
Q. We were very impressed with your collection, Uro No Ena - The Remains of My Father. Tell us the purpose behind this collection and what meaning it has for you personally.
A; What I intend in this work is to present antithesis to general view of death & life, mourning & salvation. For example in Japan, it is thought that a spirit continues to live as a part of descendants or great nature after death, and can be connected with living people. The remains will be the medium to contact with the dead. And people will seek salvation in that bond and will restore everydayness while healing sorrow.
However, I think that true mourning is realizing the disconnection with the dead, and enduring the extreme of sorrow. It is paradoxical, but the absence of salvation is the only salvation. Salvation appears in desperate and inconsolable surroundings, and beauty and sublime are living in a cold reality like holding an ice. Therefore, I want to not give meaning and interpretation to death, but keep holding it as absolutely meaningless. I keep bending ear to these remains. In order to carry this world after my father passed away. The work is only way for me to listen to the voice of silence.
Q. What do you hope for viewers to take away from this collection specifically?
A: I hope that the viewers can find something new in my works and notice its depth. And it is my great pleasure that they feel beauty and sublime in there.
Q. How do you view your art career in five years?
A: Japanese aesthetist Juzo Ueda said this: "What leads artist's life is the artistic conscience of him. It is to listen to the call from deep bottom that he has not seen yet." Five years later, I hope that I have reached a deeper level than now.
About the artist:
Makotu Nakagawa was born in 1977 in Kitaibaraki City, Japan. He graduated from Keio University, Tokyo Japan in 2001, and then the Tokyo College of Photography, Yokohama, Japan in 2005. Throughout 2018 and 2019, Makotu has exhibited his work in numerous juried collections’s, in which he received Honorable Mention, Special Recognition and Finalist. To learn more, please visit www.makotu.net.
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