1/1 is Takashi Yasumura’s fourth photographic series which follows Domestic Scandals, Nature Tracing and If This is a Planet. Yasumura commenced this series in 2008, and continued shooting throughout Japan until 2015. While Yasumura has occasionally shown this work in solo and group exhibitions, this collection compiles together one hundred and eleven works, including many of which have never been shown before.
In Domestic Scandals, Yasumura’s obsessive attention was not only on the oranges and short cakes that appear to be the central subjects, but rather was directed towards all the details captured by the camera that put their environments in the leading role, such as the walls, floors, table clothes, and curtains. 1/1 can be seen as the extension of these efforts.
(Domestic Scandals was published in 2005 by Osiris)
At the time of the solo exhibition of 1/1 held at Gallery αM in 2014, Yasumura revealed the fact that he had taken an interest in backgrounds since the time of Domestic Scandal. The impetus for this was, he explained, was the strong sense of background he felt in Gocho Shigeo’s photography in Self and Others. Yasumura’s fascination with backgrounds reached its extreme with 1/1, developed as an attempt “to eliminate the background from the photograph.”
This attempt, as Minoru Shimizu points out in the included essay, results in “[…] the graphical look of 1/1 which seems to consist solely of scenes lacking anyone or anything that could be the main subject. […] Then, eliminating the distinction between foreground and background and the meanings people give them, is to reduce the entire photograph to a depthless and flat layer.”
The locations of the photograph consist mainly of public facilities, such as local parks, citizen centers, and port areas, from site in Kyushu in the South to Hokkaido in the North, chosen while deliberately avoiding large cities. In this sense, 1/1 could be described as a documentary of Japan’s bubble era spaces, presented in unexpected ways that exceed the photographer’s intentions.
Don’t be misled in thinking these are the colors and compositions of abstract paintings. Each work has the details only a photograph can have; a singular “time” and “place” where the photographer stood before the subject with the 4x5 camera on a tripod.