Hakanai Sonzai extends the photographic experience conducted in immersion in 2016 in Cuba (published in Desmemoria). Pierre-Elie de Pibrac goes to Japan in 2020, a country which experienced the Fukushima tsunami and where the inhabitants speak little about their emotions, their psychological and intimate concerns. He then traveled the country and met people whose destiny was turned upside down following the earthquake. For centuries, Japan has developed the concept of Mono no Aware, a sensitivity to the ephemeral, an acute perception of the impermanence of things. The title of the work Hakanai Sonzai refers to it by this translation: “I feel myself an ephemeral creature”. Thus, over the pages of a book, which unfolds like a large-format album, the reader slowly penetrates into the intimacy of women, men and children, who slowly become “characters”. The photographer takes portraits with a view camera, in natural light, like mental images told by the subjects themselves and imagined by the artist.
Punctuated with portfolios of B&W urban landscapes printed on a different paper, Pierre-Elie de Pibrac's images immerse us in Japanese culture. They speak of obsolescence and show the fragile beauty of our human condition, accompanied by several tankas by the Japanese poet Kujira Sakisaka. An essay by Michel Poivert explores this corpus by making the link between the obsolescence of the photographic medium and that of our modern societies, Japan being at the heart of the excesses of the Anthropocene.