Taiji Matsue: Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum

Article excerpt

Going to the opposite extreme from the blurry vision of Daido Moriyama, his primary influence, Taiji Matsue asserts relentless visibility, dissolving perspective in the glare of sharp outlines and in the accumulation of self-assertive details, to convey a new kind of anti-humanist vision. Matsue's conceptual attitude is most evident in his black-and-white work. Photographed with a 4x5 camera, uninhabited fields and mountainsides, sprinkled with trees and rocks, appear as flat picture planes covered with tiny dots or sharp lines. With homogeneous intensity, each dot or line calls for special attention, breaking down a hierarchy between center and periphery. At the same time, the repetition of similar forms creates an evocative rhythm. In texture resembling drawings or etchings, the photos convey a sense of process and tactility. The effect is comparable to the experience of what Anton Ehrenzweig called "de-differentiation," a term that Robert Smithson used in his 1968 essay "A Sedimentation of the Mind: Earth Projects" to describe "an artistic method that captures the mind in the 'primary process' of making contact with matter."

At Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, along with the black-and-white photographs from the series "Gazetteer," 1989-, and "CC," 2001-, selected photos from Matsue's new color series, "JP-22," were shown: A photo of a sandy estuary looks like a gigantic brushstroke in an Abstract Expressionist painting; a gold area peering through the silver sprawl of rugged lines against the dark background also recalls flowing patterns on a ceramic cup. Still, the tiny blue cars parked in the sand stand out with a volume and clarity that suggests solidity, reasserting the documentary function of photography against the pictorial reduction of the landscape. …

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