5.15.2007

Gregory Colbert, "Ashes and Snow"

Gregory Colbertの"Ashes and Snow"という写真集を図書館で借りてみた。東京で開かれたColbertの写真展が好評だったようで、特に彼が写真を和紙に焼いていたことが私の母には印象的だった様子。実際この写真集もごわごわした紙でできていた。この和紙(様の紙)へのこだわりに思わず身構える。大体は子供と動物、主に象とクジラが瞑想しているようなポーズをとっている写真。一見美しくはあるが、これほどまでして作り込まれたエキゾティシズムと神秘性にしらけてしまう。意図的な被写体の選び方は、—つまりそのように演出された構図に配置されるのは動物と子供、そして女性、しかもみなアジアあるいはアフリカの、であるということ—、写真家が信奉する「純粋さ」の本質と問題をあまりにも大っぴらに示していて、こちらの居心地が悪かった。ちなみに"Ashes and Snow"はColbertの現在も進行中のプロジェクトであり、ロレックス・インスティテュートに資金援助を受けている。
I checked out from the library "Ashes and Snow," a photo book of Gregory Colbert, hearing that Colbert's exhibition in Tokyo was very successful. My mother was impressed by his use of Japanese Paper (washi) to print photo images. Indeed, the photo book I checked out was also made of rough paper, though I am not sure if it was washi. This fetishism in old-style paper made me feel somehow wary. Most of the photos feature children and animals, mainly elephants and whales, that are posing as if they are meditating. They look beautiful, at first glance, however, such entirely staged exoticism and mysteriousness is just over the top. And Colbert's intentional choice of objects -- situated in the stage are animals, children and sometime women, all of them are Asian or African -- reveals, almost too obviously, the nature and problems of "purity" that he believes in. I was just uncomfortable. As a footnote, Colbert's "Ashes and Snow" is his on-going project that is funded by the Rolex Institute.