Within my work, I am particularly interested in observing and responding to apparently insignificant, mundane places as well as moments and situations of daily existence: I am fascinated by the histories, memories and meanings that lie beneath the surface and are deeply embedded within seemingly minor occurrences, spaces and objects which, nonetheless, have the capacity to suggest and invoke individual and collective experiences, the nature of social systems, routines and hierarchies, the literal and the metaphorical, the past and the present.
Last year, a Goethe Institute scholarship enabled me to return to Kyoto/Japan for the first time in almost a decade: keen to examine the shifts that may have occured in the meantime (not least in view of the tragic events of March 2011), I visited many sites that play a crucial role in the country’s history and collective psyche.
Seemingly less significant in comparison -at least at first glance- the small abandoned countryside school in which this photograph was taken turned out to be one of the most moving locales I encountered throughout the entire stay, however. Despite the fact that it had clearly been closed for years, the school’s interior was carefully preserved and full of remnants of its former users. The rooms, adorned with long chains of colourful origami cranes, a man-sized papermaché Godzilla monster and neatly arranged desks, seemed at once culturally specific and touchingly familiar. The resulting work ruminates upon themes of childhood, the modern age and the architecture of our environment as an extension of our indivdual and collective psyches.
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