Sarah Fujiwara

In quest for capturing the unquantifiables
sarah01Through her visual idioms of “straight photos”, “collage-photos” and “filmic expressions”,
Fujiwara purports to capture the ephemerality of physical beings and phenomenon in order to visualise fragments of her own memories.
However, it was not until 1999, when Fujiwara was hospitalised, that she began art-making to materialise her own creative visions.
There, she shot a countless number of scenes inside the hospital with a view to capturing the ordinariness of extraordinary times experienced by individual patients.
The colour-photocopied works produced were subsequently exhibited across the hospital’s 20-metre corridor, catching the attentive eyes of galleriests.
She recollects her childhood as being surrounded by her grandfather’s vast collections of classical Japanese paintings and drawings alike from the Kano School of Momoyama to Edo periods, which have undoubtedly been one of the pivotal reference points of her artistic career.
Upon work acquisition by Kiyosato Photo Art Museum, Sarah FUJIWARA shifted gradually
from the realm of commercial photography to that of contemporary art where she now strives to explore the infinite possibilities of human expressions.
The works, regardless of medium, seem somewhat self-explanatory in that they act upon the very subconscious of individual spectators who tend to discover some missing links to “self”, embedded within their partial memories.
While Fujiwara has shown extensively throughout Japan, she has also been active on an international scale, exhibiting solo overseas as well as participating in a numerous number of international art fairs.
Fujiwara lives and works in Tsushima, Aichi.


Artist sarah fujiwara words by Akihito Nakanishi, Cultural Affairs AssistantPublic Affairs Section U.S Embassy, Tokyo

Photographer, Sarah Fujiwara

Recollections are strange.
Through their incredibly subjective neuro-systems, they beautify some events, weather them, and sometimes trivialise the most shocking occurrence. Behind the wheel of all this subjectivity sits the ever-insoluble theme of “time”.
Time has always been a pivotal thematic part of the modern and post-modern artists in order to capture, or rather, grasp the notion of “subjective time”. And this was often illustrated by such prominent artists as Picasso in his multi-faceted objectivity and Monet, with his endeavour into the fluidity of the light.
By the same token, the photographic technologies, since its conception as a “camera obsecura” back in 16th C, have rapidly progressed from being merely a means of documentation to a mechanism through which to capture the “time” as exemplified by E. Muybridge (1978) with his “running horse”. It was not long before the idea of moving pictures was conceptualised.
In recent years, photography is increasingly seen on a par with paintings when dealing with the theme of “time”, and is often even spoken of in interchangeable terms.
When I encountered the photoworks of Fujiwara in 03, I seemed to discover a “clue” to solve the inter-relativity of the two media for expression as well as the correlation that lie in between time and memory.

It did not just indicate a “clue” but also a “process”.
Embedded in the collage works of Fujiwara, her layers of accumulated recollections can be glanced.
The ordinary everyday life that goes unnoticed even by oneself and subconsciously captured beauty around us that may only be apt for deletion as the brain cells die away.
She clips out the most intangible beauty in the panorama of visionary within her. The clusters of those beauties begin (re) acting with the recollections of the spectator through the intimate interpretation of Fujiwara. Does her shooting-stance that favours organic motifs, stem as a consequence of projecting the photographer’s own fragments onto the subject matter? So as to visualise the very process of memory accumulation? How can her subjective memory be shared and related to by others?
It is in those self-questioning moments that I find myself referring to my own recollections.
By capturing the ambiguous with ambiguity, she manages to output the photos of all chosen motifs as visualised images of memory itself, ultimately becoming the garden of memories within a frame.
The ephemeral “now” and eternal “memory”. For Fujiwara who intuitively scrutinises the relationships between them, the first-hand experience as a commercial photographer might have been an essential edge for striking the perfect equilibrium between the artificial composition and accidental factors.
When Fujiwara cites “the shutter feels so stuck”, it just reveals her ever-lasting struggle in the process of balancing the two.
Many of Fujiwara’s multi-dimensional photoworks change their faces every time, to show the path into the spectator’s inner self.
In ultimate terms, the selective tendency of man to look at and/or remembers what he/she wants is known as “Scotoma” (blind spot in an otherwise normal visual field) in medical as well as psychological jargon, but it seems that Fujiwara’s relentless subconscious effort for the balance itself is directly linked to the very Scotoma of human psychology.
Either way, it is true that since the thematic direction of an artist may only be substantiated through the continuance of work production, the spectators will have to keep plotting her paths by observing (either positively or negatively) every exhibition the artist holds. And having noted that, I am also delighted to do just that, mostly because Fujiwara’s works not only reflect her own mental spectrum but also they give us a neutral feedback on what we are passing over most of the time.

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