Tomoki Imai “Semicircle Law”

Dates: Jan 26 – Feb 16, 2013
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film
Opening reception: Saturday, Jan 26, 18:00 – 20:00


Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film is pleased to present Tomoki Imai’s solo exhibition Semicircle Law. The current exhibition is comprised of 15 works that Imai shot in multiple locations within a 30km radius of the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant in the approximately 20-month period between April 21, 2011 and the end of 2012.

From the mountaintop, the building was sometimes visible as a blurred white dot. Neither the building’s enormous emission nor 20km and 30km radii could be seen. No transformation excepting the change of the seasons was visible.

Not being an interested party in the strictest sense, I felt that I would eventually forget this tragedy as I had many others. To forget something is to become accustomed to it. I did not want to become accustomed to the idea that a semicircle of emptiness was just a four hour drive away.

And yet, I probably will forget. As the memory slides gently into oblivion, my photographs allow me to recall not only visible, but also invisible things.

– Tomoki Imai

In his best known works Mahiru – in the middle of the day (Seigensha, 2001) and Light and Gravity (Little More, 2009), Imai photographed everyday landscapes such as streets and forests and ordinary interiors. These tranquil works, in which no people appear, convey Imai’s sincere attitude toward the act of looking and his quiet excitement in finding beauty in ordinary scenes. In his recent work A TREE OF NIGHT (Match and Company, 2010), Imai created spreads comprised of snapshots on one page and macro shots of descriptions of visual and aural sensations excerpted from a novel printed in braille on the facing page. By juxtaposing these images, he showed that there are things that we sacrifice by being able to see and encouraged viewers to reexamine the very act of looking.

The Japanese government designated the area within a 20km radius of the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant an “evacuation zone” and limited access to it on April 22. Imai began shooting the images included in the current exhibition on April 21. In all of these images, the camera is pointed in the direction of the nuclear power plant. The works offer no opinion on the nuclear disaster, but show us that while we may think that we are facing this unprecedented disaster, we are actually incapable of seeing it.

Tomoki Imai new publication “Semicircle Law”
Retail price:¥3,990-, published by Match and Company (2013)
Hardcover, total 64 pages, 28 illustrations, H23 x W28.1 cm
Art direction: Satoshi Machiguchi
Texts include; Essays by Charlotte Cotton and Taro Amano (Chief Curator, Yokohama Museum of Art) (English and Japanese)