Yutaka Takanashi “AQUA TREE”

Dates: Nov 2 – Nov 30, 2013
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film (AXIS Bldg, Roppongi)
Opening reception: Saturday, Nov 2, 18:00 – 20:00

Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film is pleased to present “AQUA TREE,” Yutaka Takanashi’s first solo exhibition with Taka Ishii Gallery, from November 2 to 30, 2013. “AQUA TREE” comprises 17 color images, which inspired by children’s songs he heard as a child, Takanashi shot as he followed the steel towers, from which power lines are suspended, all the way to the source – a hydroelectric plant in the eastern region of Yamanashi Prefecture.

The idea of following the steel towers occurred to me when I remembered a song I used to sing as a child.

“Strange electricity runs; strange electricity runs
It runs as it sees the sunset clouds; it runs as it sees the sunset clouds
All the way from the mountains; it runs a marathon through the black power lines”

– Excerpted from “Electricity (Fushigi-na denki)”
lyrics: Chieko Nakamura Music: Makoto Sato in Two Hundred Japanese Children’s Songs.

The Association of Children’s Song Writers in Japan, 1986

I eventually found out that the power lines I was photographing were the “Suginami line.” The Shishidome Power Station in Tsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture, which was established in the early Taisho Period, is where the Suginami line originates. Hirono-san from TEPCO told me that in the spring, the mountain where the plant is becomes covered in cherry blossoms and very beautiful.
On March 11, it was overcast and I was taking a nap. I was surprised by the strong quake and rushed to my study while half-asleep and saw my family hugging the camera shelf.
On April 10, I went to the power plant from where one can see Mt. Fuji in the distance. The flowers were in bloom and at the foot of the mountain was a roaring stream.

“The fields of Musashi were once filled with the smell of gromwells
As Japanese culture blossomed,
Mountains behind which the moon would hide
And the plains below disappeared without a trace”

– Excerpted from the Official Song of Tokyo established in 1926

In thinking about the start of “the city,” I remembered this song.
The “AQUA TREE” was a process of looking up at the sky and exploring the ground below.

September 2013, Yutaka Takanashi

Throughout his career, Takanashi has examined “the city.” From the children’s song above, he sensed the admiration and reverence that children used to have for electricity. He explains, “Electricity was necessary for Tokyo to urbanize. So I thought of photographing the root of the electric towers, which signaled the “advent” of electricity.” Starting in the city, where contemporary lifestyles can be seen, and traveling against the flow of electricity, Takanashi followed the power lines and power towers to arrive at the hydroelectric plant surrounded by cherry blossoms. By following the first power that entered Tokyo, he traveled back in time to simultaneously decipher the process through which the city was formed and expose the current state of the city.

Press Release Download