Shortlisted for PhotoBook of the Year | Paris-Photo Aperture Foundation Awards 2013
Selected as one of the Best Photobooks of 2013 by Martin Parr, Alec Soth, Tom Claxton, Matthew Carson
Lieko Shiga's artistic practice has developed out of her visceral sense of unease with the coziness and automation of everyday life. Born in 1980, she has made her work both in Japan and abroad. Her first visit to Miyagi Prefecture was in 2006, when she was taking part in an exhibition at the Sendai Mediatheque. Since then she has returned to Tohoku countless times, each time seeking to foster an intimate relationship with this region. One day, in Kitakama, she discovered a pine forest that faces the Pacific.
Living in Kitakama, Shiga worked as the resident photographer, documenting festivals and other official events while also recording an oral history of the region. These experiences had a major influence on her practice. Shiga created each work as though her photography were inseparable from her own body, as if inhaling Kitakama's air as deeply as possible and then slowly, quietly breathing it out. This was not meant as a conceptual expression of Kitakama's character and individuality, but to reveal traces of physical activities connected with the land. Therefore, what one sees in Shiga's works is not an auteur's "answer" to telling the stories of Kitakama, but the revelation of Shiga's ongoing engagement with the larger questions she asks herself: What is the nature of photography as a medium? And what is the nature of living and expressing oneself on land? Perhaps these questions speak clearly to our society and its many problems.
"The danger of Surrealism is that it can easily lead to self-indulgence and repetition. To avoid this trap, Lieko Shiga moved to the Japanese coastal town of Kitakama and became the town’s official photographer. The result is a dreamlike community album."Alec Soth
“(...) elegiac, meditative, gloomy, playful, and acstatic by turns. The result is a gigantic, ambitious, mood piece, but a very superior if somewhat baffling one.” Gerry Badger
"Certainly one of the strongest works I have seen this year as every single image stands alone, but the book is also very well edited and manages to add even more mystery to the initial troubling astonishment that the series produces. Definitely a must have." Cristina De Middel
"With a combination of re-staged and flashed scenes, Rasen Kaigan explores the territory of and harks back to the tsunami of recent times." Martin Parr
Shiga has produced a mesmerizing title that draws the viewer into a dark labyrinth of folklore and fantasy. Never fully aware of what is being observed, this is a chaotically charged document, blurring the real and dreamt, the landscape and those that belong to it: it’s a totally captivating journey, that is almost impossible to depart." Tom Claxton