AKIRA KUGIMACHI

Snowscape

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snowscape snowscape



 
The creation of the « Snowscape » series finds its origin in my childhood experience.
For me, who grew up in Belgium until the age of eight, and who has often been taken on trips all over Europe by my parents, the snowy Swiss mountains were the place that impressed me the most, leaving a strong image in the depth of my mind. I still have one photo taken when I was 5 or 6, where I am drawing the far away landscape from a Swiss lakeside.
Some 20 years later, I came to stay in France, and for a while, I was devoted to my artistic production, the concept of which was to express the changes of nature by the passage of time, drawing waves and light as motifs.
Meanwhile, I visited Mont Blanc just once to view the snowy mountains.
It happened one day, on the way back from Basel Art Fair, when suddenly I got a strong desire to see them again.
There, I found myself in front of something that absolutely no human could ever make, a pure creation of the powerful nature.
The time needed to accomplish this was so tremendous that one man’s lifetime could not be enough and it might have started even before the birth of human kind.
After having been staring at this scenery until the sun set, I returned to the lower world, that is to say daily life. And strangely, I felt I was brought back to a trivial reality.
I earnestly desired to transmit through my work the world I saw there, but it took several years before I felt ready for it.
I needed quite much time to clarify the concept and to define the precise technique that would just fit to express the impact I felt then.
Again and again, I went to see it, at Zermatt, at Interlaken... In the hard conditions of 4,000 meters above sea level, where the air is scarce, I was holding my breath while taking photos, so that my hands would not shiver.
It is not that I had a scheduled project to start this series.
I just always had it in my mind, preparing myself for it, little by little.
I guess the long years of art production had also helped nourish my skills, making a groundwork I could base this creation on.
Somebody told me after viewing this series that it was like a picture taken from a satellite in a near future, after the disappearance of mankind from Earth, as we could find in a science-fiction story.
It reminds me of a phrase from a French ethnologist who said: « The world began without the human race, and it will end without it. »*
According to me, art is a kind of device that invites people to free themselves and to disconnect from the real time of daily life.
If by watching my work, people could, for instance, recall something long forgotten, something essential engraved in our DNA, and if simultaneously they could think about our existence as a piece of a very old past memory, if my work could let people experience a glimpse of the future, this would be my greatest pleasure.

* Claude Lévi-Strauss ¨Tristes Tropiques¨, 1955.