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Otsuchi - Memories of the future.

Alejandro Chaskielberg

21.6.18  - 28.7.18

Otsuchi offers us a document on the consequences of the Great East Japan Earthquake (known as Higashi Nihon Daishinsai) that hit the Japanese country in March 2011 and subsequently produced a tsunami, devastating the city of Otsuchi in Iwate prefecture.

At the beginning of the project, the images are an accumulation of garbage and remains, a product of the catastrophe. The stacking of materials (wood, plastics, rusted iron, ropes, etc.) appears to us fragments and visually challenges us with an external depth.

Long and nocturnal exposures seem to establish a pact with time and give rise to a state of reflection towards the image. Time is the protagonist in the whole project. The photographer seems to open, in these lapses of photographic construction, standing in front of what he portrays, a small portal where the light, the wind, the desolate solitude of what the images represent and the gaze of those he portrays (who while waiting posing , they think and remember feeling the time and the wave pass again) they allow themselves to be. The images then become an accurate reflection of the subject they expose.

Regarding the use of color, the artist has managed to take his relationship with photography to a new field of experimentation by completely abandoning the use of referential and documentary color. Instead, using the color palette of the archival images in the book, he has decided to color the images produced by himself. That is, it uses the colors of the past to paint the images of a present that allow the future. The color in the book then becomes the bridge that gives coherence to all the material. It sacrifices the spectacularity of the present color to the melancholic color of the past.

The truth of Ostuchi is not in his remains. It is in its people. They are your memory and your future. Nothing else matters, because there is no material heavier and stronger than memory and its projection in time to come. The project insists on this concept: the foundations and pillars of a society are its people. Every shrine accuses an architectural gesture of protecting memory and Otsuchi: Future Memories does exactly that.

The central element in the project is the relationship that is established in the images where the subjects pose on what were their houses. Visually, these rectangular foundations reveal the foundation of a home. But they are much more. They are those pieces of the puzzle that Chaskielberg builds. The photographic format (that proverbial rectangle of light) is also implicit and cited in these grids. The concrete bases are the past, as photography is, and on them, the survivors and their hope stand.

Martín Bollati (excerpt from Otsuchi, or the photograph stands up, 2016)

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