Zen Foto Gallery is delighted to present Yuta Fuchikami’s photography exhibition “Ueno Park” from December 1 (Friday) to December 23 (Saturday). Fuchikami’s latest work in colour is currently featured in the exhibition “Leap Before You Look: Contemporary Japanese Photography vol.20” at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum until January 21 next year. Fuchikami has recently been very active — he just won the grand prize at Shiogama Photo Festival last year and his photo book was published under the same title by the same festival in October this year.
Fuchikami’s first solo exhibition at Zen Foto Gallery will showcase a variety of his early black and white work captured during the few years after he moved to Tokyo. On Saturday, December 2, Fuchikami and photographer John Sypal will be hosting a cross-talk session regarding Ueno Park, a place that has always intrigued both artists.
I remember visiting Ueno during the summer of 2015, shortly after relocating to Tokyo. At that time, I explored places I was interested in and took portraits of the locals while speaking with them. As I had only taken photographs of people, I thought anywhere would be good for taking photos. Looking back, it was probably challenging for me to find a place in Tokyo that had many subjects I wanted to photograph.
When I got off at Ueno station, the odour of urine filled my nose. The place smelled alive — it was the first time I felt that way in Tokyo. I noticed that a few homeless people were sleeping near the entrance of the station. I strolled around the area the whole day and stumbled upon the Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park when the sun was setting. I was mesmerized by the view, though the pond seemed lifeless with its withered brown hue. Since then, Ueno Park has become my favourite place in Tokyo, as well as a location for me to take photos.
In this exhibition, I will show the photos I took between 2015 and 2019 in Ueno Park using black and white film. I love black and white photography the most because it has a kind of stillness and melancholy and I can stare at a photograph without colour for a very long time. It may be difficult for me to capture the essence of human beings or the meaning of life through my photographs, but I am devoted to documenting the reality of their beautiful existence in this place. Human beings are extremely ugly and beautiful at the same time. They are all different and striving for their lives. That alone is very charming and fascinating to me — I will never grow tired of it.
The colour photographs I took between 2020 and 2023 are currently on display at the exhibition “Leap Before You Look: Contemporary Japanese Photography Vol. 20” at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum from October 27, 2023, until January 21, 2024. I consider the work displayed at both locations as a single exhibit. I hope that you can see them together.
— Yuta Fuchikami, November, 2023