These wooden icons of a bygone era embody the traditional architecture of Japan. The art of Japanese joinery survives to this day through the craftsmanship of a few revered masters. These remaining daiku – or architects – uphold the knowledge and methods of “the way of carpentry”, which the rapid technological advances of postwar Japan had partially discarded. Kigumi delves into the infinite combinations of these traditional hand-carved objects when exposed to the possibilities of the mechanical eye.
The series explores the functional properties of these objects by exposing the mortise and tenons where the wooden structures connect. Shot individually on a white surface with the systematic use of a single viewpoint, the images take on a typological nature. Yet the stark shadows created by the bright light of the midday sun transform the objects into new, hybrid geometric forms. The subtle interplay of wood and shadows, empty spaces and volumes, creates autonomous structures – at times abstract patterns, architectural motifs or composite sculptures – which redeem or erase the objects’ initial three-dimensional nature.
The KIGUMI book is published by Lemon Books (Tokyo).