IBASHO welcomes everyone to Munemasa Takahashi's solo show where we present his project 'Laying Stones' as well as 'The Lost & Found Project'.
The series 'Laying Stones' is a very personal series that Takahashi has created to overcome the grief he felt after the death of his best friend, Kazuto Hoshi. Stacking stones is a Japanese tradition based on a folk belief in that says that a child who dies before his/her parent, is punished by having to lay stones after stones, in the riverbed in front of the gate to heaven, only to be demolished by a demon. The parent who lost the child will help out the child by laying stones to alleviate the child's suffering. Takahashi started laying stones himself to find some closure after losing his beloved friend and meanwhile started started to take photographs of flowers, plants, the light and the body, the cherry blossoms, those subjects that will face the end and regenerate in a different form. A visit to a pilgrimage destination in Spain called 'The End of the World' which place felt more like the site of a beginning rather than the end to Takahashi. He realised that the exact same human activity of 'layering stones' held completely different meanings in two locations distant apart. One had a dark background, while the other, a bright background. He realised then that there are only two things we can do for the deceased loved ones. One is to bid farewell, and the other is to never forget. So instead of giving sad meaning to the action of laying stones, Takahashi believes it is important to pray that they departed to that somewhere where there is light.
IBASHO will also exhibit an installation of pieces from 'Lost & Found Project':
After the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Takahashi became a member of the Salvage Memory project, a volunteer effort to recover nearly 750,000 family photos that had been lost in the town of Yamamoto in Miyagi prefecture, one of the towns worst hit by the tsunami. The project returned more than 430,000 photos to their owners and it’s still continuing presently. While many of the photos were returned, there were also too heavily damaged photos to be returned which were thrown into a “Hopeless” box. Takahashi took these “Hopeless” photos and turned them into a traveling exhibition “Lost & Found Project” that aims to raise funds for tsunami survivors.