Gentaro Ishizuka "You went too far to north"

March 2 - April 14, 2007

Pipeline Alaska Pipeline Alaska Pipeline Alaska Pipeline Alaska Pipeline Alaska
click each image to enlarge

The oil field in the Alaska Arctic Ocean, the biggest crude oil deposit in North America, is transported by pipeline; it stretches for 1,280 km through south and northern Alaska from Prudhoe Bay, which is covered with ice three quarters of the year, to Valdez, an ice-free port on the Pacific Ocean side. It is the second longest man-made structure in the world, following China’s Great Wall. It was completed in 1977 after four years of construction. A Japanese manufacturer received an order for pipe.

It was in the spring of 2003 when I first visited Alaska. I wanted to travel across the intact wilderness; however, what caught my eyes was not "wilderness" but the pipeline running through the wilderness. The artificial structure runs endlessly without intermission. It seems to embody a humorousness and even sorrow in the nature of human activities. Why should man have made this in such a place, at the edge of the earth? And I even felt that it is a part of ourselves, as long as it carries coal oil which we need in our daily life. In the vast nature of the Arctic Circle, the pipeline caught my eyes as nothing but beautiful, a somehow painful, humorous object of human behavior.

Gentaro Ishizuka

gallery.sora. is pleased to announce our solo exhibition of Gentaro Ishizuka "You went too far to north." Ishizuka was born in 1977 in Tokyo. He won the grand prize EPSON Color Imaging Contest in 2002 and the grand prize Visual Arts Photo Award in 2003, the Newcomer’s Award of the Photographic Society of Japan in 2004. Along with a high public profile, he published several photo books including "worldwidewonderful"(Niepce, 2001), "worldwidewarp"(visual arts, 2003), "WWWWW"(Seigensha, 2006) at successive intervals since his debut. In 2007, he published a new book on the series of "Pipeline Alaska" which he spent three years shooting. On the occasion of the publication, gallery.sora. will exhibit a selection of images from the larger photographic series; exhibited works will be type C prints (color negative film by 4 x 5).

Ishizuka made his strong debut in 2001 with overwhelming amount of photographs shot by digital camera. He has visited almost 60 countries since his first travel on abroad at the age of 19. He has made round-the-world trip four times alternate between westward and eastward. The round-the-world trip twice each was spent for his debut series of “worldwidewarp” and “WWWWW,” on the other hand, he took almost three years wandering to take photographs of Arctic Circle. Alaska must be a special place for him. --- Succinctly expressed by his words "only four times of round-the-world trip" --- the photography on a journey holds unknown possibilities for him to exceed simple definition of landscape, portrait, and documentary.

The pipeline which stretches in the lonely wilderness endlessly - it is the second longest man-made artificial building structure in the world which across the north and south of Alaska. As if ground-hugging on the frozen land, running headlong towards to the beautiful horizon, the line seems to be a sign which shows the mighty power of the Earth, and a symbol of human humor and sorrow. Ishizuka, who has been showing the trace of actual and elastic thought for self/other/place by whirling around the world, is led by the white guidepost - it makes him pursue and to go on a long journey and take photographs. The series of image that emerged after the process looks as if a crack on the thin film covers the world which one can see by continuous moving. I might say that the pipeline is an embodiment of sensation, of a high-speed journey which shakes and reverse oneself.

(Toshiharu Ito, art historian)

New publication :
Gentaro Ishizuka "PIPELINE-ALASKA"
art direction: Masayoshi Kodaira (FLAME)
published by Petit Grand Publishing Inc.
Produced with the kind cooperation of YUPO CORPORATION

Concurrent exhibition
Gentaro Ishizuka
Spiral Garden, Aoyama, April 3 - 15, 2007
The exhibition consists of ink-jet large prints in main and several type C-prints of unpublished images.