Commission Project Free


2/2/2024 - 3/24/2024

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum 3F Exhibition Gallery

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Yu ARAKI, Road Movie, 2014
©Yu Araki / Image courtesy of the artist and MUJIN-TO Production


Far Side of the Plate

Visual media is frustrating. Behind the act of showing something on screen, something else is cut out and eliminated. This fatalistic structure somewhere resembles the irritation we feel at not being able to see, as long as we are on the earth, the far side of the moon with the naked eye.
ROAD MOVIE was shot in Skagaströnd, a small village in Iceland about 6,940km from Hollywood. The film was inspired by my disappointment that the only place I could eat out during the three months I spent at an artist residency in this village in midwinter was a fast-food restaurant called Grill 66, which was attached to a gas station. It takes the form of a road movie in which the protagonists eat twenty-five dishes from the menu, each named after a place on U.S. Route 66 from which the restaurant takes its name, moving from “Chicago (bacon cheeseburger)” in the east toward “Hollywood (beefsteak sandwich)” in the west in the same geographical order that they appear on the map, without actually moving. Colleagues from the artist residence with whom I built a relationship of trust, teenagers I met in the area, and the owner and staff of the restaurant all united in pursuit of one goal: to make a film. This can be likened to forming a temporary pseudo-family, and I still remember the sense of security and unique elation I felt on site.
It was also the U.S. that won the race to reach the moon, as if it were an extension of the Westard expansion to the discovery of a so-called the New World. “Frontier spirit” may sound good, but we must not forget that behind the frontier history are people who were driven off their land and deprived of it. How can America be represented in a place that is not America, together with non- Americans?—this was the modest challenge I set myself as a person born in an island nation that, like Iceland, is located on the North American and Eurasian plates and still has U.S. military bases. Nonetheless, as mentioned above, such is the fate of visual media that I could similarly only capture one facet of the wider picture. I am truly honored to have the opportunity to exhibit my work alongside the wonderful collection of the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, but at the same time, my stomach shrinks to the utmost when it stands alongside the works of masters who lead the medium.

Period: February 2 – March 24, 2024 *Closed on Mondays [Please note the exhibition is open on Monday, February 12 but closed on Tuesday, February 13]
Venue: Tokyo Photographic Art Museum 3F Exhibition Gallery