HATCH Series No. 2 | Between the Concrete
+ About the Work
I like working in many formats, including digital media, video installation, painting, photography, and sculpture. My practice explores human bodies, landscapes, information media, the relationship between nature and culture, circulation of imagery and the use of image capturing devices.
As an ideological springboard for the totality of my artistic practice, my photographic work and paintings are constructed with large-scale reproductions of desktop wallpapers from the National Geographic website that I have screen-capped. These works survey the presence/function of a camera and the creation of image, as well as the role of the author of an image.
As an extension of my artistic focus, the project “Jungle is Massive” examines the preconceived notions of Nature / Wilderness in an urban environment. This project critically analyses two parallelled themes:
1) The diverse and interwoven systems of visual information in relation to the topologies of Nature or Wilderness from both a historical and contemporary point of view: This approach aims to unravel the role of human gaze as both the author and audience in landscape arts. Conscious of the concept of “Rückenfigur,”** I applied this definitive technique in an urban setting to inspect the expression of an ‘urban jungle.’
2) The apparatus for being a creator of an image: The reflection on authorship further explores the concept of human ownership over the natural environment in terms of a desire to personalize and keep possession of the landscape through capturing and documentation.
The video segments that make up the project of “Jungle is Massive” are a play on the concept of “Rückenfigur.” These three or four channel videos are made with one camera, constantly capturing the presence and activities of one another to create a closed loop of what is being captured.
In addition to image composition and its relation to historical landscape painting, “Jungle is Massive” infers the complex relationship of what is being captured and who it is capturing in our surveillance age where we are surrounded by cameras. I tried to further complicate the layers of authorship by placing myself / the artist in and out of each camera frame. Throughout the filming process, my assistants / collaborators were forced to improvise with the camera angle, ultimately creating a strange theatre which questions the idea of authorship and the ever more ambiguous line between cultural consumption and production as consequential characteristic of the current digital age.
**Note: Rückenfigur describes the image composition popularized by German Romantic landscape painters, which is characterized by a protagonist’s back facing the viewer as the foreground, gazing over the scenic view. This concept is instrumental in transforming the function of landscape in Western art history from a backdrop dependant upon human activities to a self-contained emotive subject matter. Many photographic compositions in National Geographic borrow this make-up.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Originally from Japan, Ryota received his BFA from the University College Falmouth (UK) in 2004. He is currently pursuing his MFA degree at Parsons in New York.