Dimensions: 297 x 210 mm
Yusuke Yamatani’s drum performance begins with a crescendo of cymbals. The room is pitch black, but as the bass and snare drums kick in, intermittent strobe lights fill the space, lighting up Yamatani’s topless figure, beating his drums, posessed in a trance. A nearby printer, hooked up to cameras positioned around the drum-kit, ejects hundreds of images — of Yamatani, and the crowd that surrounds him. After the show, the photographer randomly gathers his new prints, offering them out to the participants of his multi-sensory spectacle.
After presenting Doors for the first time at Kyotographie in 2018, Yamatani embarked on a European tour in the summer of 2019. Over the course of eight 15-minute performances, Yamatani produced 3,563 images. Now, a selection of them, along with snapshots from the road — of landscapes, receipts, the food he ate and the people he met — are presented in an impressive photobook, alongside a 20,000 word interview, encompassing Yamatani’s approach and outlook on photography.
The photographer describes the work as “part-documentary and part-road movie, about a half-naked Asian pulling of performances and driving around freely in Europe”. The photobook feels much like a manuscript of this physical journey, its materiality echoing the quality and quantity of the original printed images, and the impulsive nature of the performances. “My wish is for people to see this photobook… and use it as an opportunity to reflect on a nostalgic past for the future to come,” he writes.
The idea for the project developed out of Yamantani’s desire to “embody the mechanisms of seeing and being seen,” and to question the discrepancy between the image that flashes before his audience’s eyes, and that which the camera captures. According to Yamatani, one audience member commented that “it was as if the photos were being printed directly on the retina”. The resulting images vary from close-ups of Yamatani’s face – some capturing a twinkle of joy, others the rush of adrenaline — to more distorted, awkward images of abstract shapes and twisted forms.
Yamatani tittled the project Doors, after the rock band, The Doors, whose name originated from Aldous Huxley’s essay The Doors of Perception. Huxley’s essay was in turn inspired by a line from a poem by William Blake: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
“I related to this line,” reflects Yamatani. “The foundation of my work, and what The Doors and Aldous Huxley were trying to express, are similar. They tried to open the doors of perception through drugs and music, but I am taking a more primitive route, driving my body to its limit and trying to look into my subconscious.” Text from article written by Marigold Warner for British Journal of Photography, 2020
signed copies available
stock number: NB455