Thursday, March 27, 2014

“Ritual and Reality” by Yishay Garbasz

In Japanese cartoons, the typical scene of street view around home includes small houses standing along a clean narrow road, green trees growing and a cat running across a wall. This scene appears so constantly that numerous audience’s visual imagination of home have been effected, which includes me.

At first glance, Yishay Garbasz’s installation in Ronald Feldman Gallery presents this familiar scene which is warm. Then a cold desolation struck me-- although the physical environment is complete, certain essential elements are absent: no one is walking on the street, bicycles are lying along the side of road and a traffic light is blinking on yellow. The title-- “Fukushima Nuclear Exclusion” tells why: a tsunami that hit a nuclear power station in Fukushima three years ago leading to a disastrous nuclear leak. People living around the accident fled, leaving behind abandoned towns.

Mass media didn’t follow up the aftermath of this deserted area, but Garbasz went there, recorded the scenes and reappeared the abandoned streets in a straight forward way by combining documentary videos, audios and photos. Local houses, clean roads and vehicles on the screens highlight a sad contradictory: the previous vibrant of this area versus the dead emptiness at this moment. Whatever the reasons were for this event, whether it was economical, political, or an act of nature, viewers’ fundamental emotion as humans are challenged: how to face the desolation of lost?

On the screens, as time pass, the environment is being taken back by nature; maybe in time the pain of people will also fade away.

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