Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Naoya Hatakeyama at SFMOMA
The first one-man exhibit in the U.S. by the 54-year-old Japanese photographer Naoya Hatakeyama has just been installed at SFMOMA on the floor above the Cindy Sherman gargoyle retrospective.
Hatakeyama's photos are about the encroachment of the human world into the "natural" world, a subject which invites preachy cliches (think of the movie Koyaaniqatsi, for instance) that the photographer successfully evades.
Whether the subjects are industrial Belgium landscapes, old German factories being demolished, underground quarries in Paris, or tourism in the Alps (above, Matterhorn, 2005), the photos are beautifully composed, mysterious, and vibrating with life.
The only room where the "natural" world violently intrudes into the human world is a series of smaller than usual photos of his hometown after it was destroyed by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
The exhibit ends with a video installation called Twenty-Four Blasts which is a wall-size, stop-motion slideshow of just what the title says it is. "That was the Michael Bay room," Patrick Vaz said, while it reminded me of the SCTV Farm Film Report where the highest praise was that something "blowed up real good."