(RE) PICTURE magazine: from Japan with amazement
Creating a magazine without words is simple, but doing it without images seems an almost insane undertaking. Yet there are those who have done this too and, of course, we at Frab's, always on the hunt for particular magazines that cannot be found in Italy, could not fail to offer you this rarity that comes from Japan.
Is called (RE) PICTURE, Akira Takamiya curates it, while the art direction and design are entrusted to the London studio OK-RM. Almost an artist's book, that it is a fascinating and, in a certain sense, special object is immediately understood. To be precise, you understand it in the exact moment when, with the enthusiasm of a bibliophile who can't wait to leaf through his latest treasure, you vehemently tear off the cellophane that wraps it, only to realize that that too is hand-printed and containing index and colphon in English of the volume.
Once opened, it strikessmell: it seems to have a freshly cut log of wood in your hands. It is intoxicating, close your eyes and it is as if you were in a fir forest on a warm autumn afternoon.
After the sense of smell, you have to allow several minutes to touch. The cardboard cover has the indentation of the index and colophon in Japanese. The writings, however, are upside down and you can read them (if you know how to read Japanese) in relief on the back cover. A ploy from nothing, perhaps, but which immediately gives a sense of the particularity and care of the editorial product that you have in your hands.
Several follow blank and perforated pages: nine symmetrical holes guide the gaze and imagination, capture the light, cast shadows and fill a space that is only apparently empty. Alternating between the “empty” sheets, five projects by five different artists, sixteen pages each to tell, rigorously without words, their own world. It is not the images that speak, but the universal language of art.
It starts with Water Copy by the French photographer Marvin Leuvrey, a photographic series where organic and synthetic elements play and blend with each other, overcoming the physical limits of photography, creating lines, blurs, liquid frames that mix truth and fiction, in a deconstructed landscape that challenges the idea of digitizing reality.
The Dutch Jaap Scheeren he is the author of the second chapter of (RE) PICTURE, a photographic series into the wild: firs, bats and foxes are captured by Jaap's photographic lens, viewed from various angles, each shot connects us to the photographer and emotions.
An eclectic portrait of the post-industrial British landscape is what the work of Theo Simpson. His multi-layered compositions consist of archival images, workshop manuals and landscape photographs, triggering a reflection on the construction of collective memory, on technological progress and on the relationship between man and machine.
To Japanese Yuji Hamada instead, it is up to the task of showing the complicated urban green in overly urbanized metropolis, where instead of a real tree it is preferred to install imaginative posters showing green landscapes. Inevitable reflection, indirect and only evoked, on climate change.
Closes the volume, before other interminable blank pages, the Londoner Mark Borthwick with its landscapes that, between one play of light and the next, make you daydream.
The creators of (RE) PICTURE could have run out the magazine in 80 pages, but the result would have been completely different. The choice of using an entire ream of paper, for a thickness of over four centimeters, is estranging and brilliant at the same time. The declared aim of stimulating the imagination beyond cultural and linguistic barriers has been achieved and each blank page is filled thanks to the mental connections and associations that each photo, each work, is able to arouse in each of us.
In conclusion, a great job that fully expresses the true value of printed paper.