Unreal Nature

September 2, 2015

Both the Blue and the Sky

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:44 am

… The color in Toshio Shibata’s photographs is dangling in midair between local color and color itself …

This is from the essay ‘Collage and Local Color: Toshio Shibata’s New Color Works’ by Minoru Shimizu found in For Grey by Toshio Shibata (2009):

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While editing directly from life, photographers have found it too difficult to see simultaneously both the blue and the sky.
(William Eggleston‘s Guide, p. 9)

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… Without actually touching the framework of modern photography, Meyerowitz simply reinterpreted it. Instead of capturing “real things hidden in the background of daily life,” he pointed his camera at “real colors hidden in the background of daily life.”

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… when discussing Toshio Shibata’s color works from the perspective of an introduction of color to a monochrome world, the cubist collage (papier collé), an art form contemporary with straight photography, and the issue of local color are much more appropriate reference points than the history of photography.

… within the new symbolic system established through the collage, such hybrid elements as lines, faces, and snippets of newspapers and cloth abandon their original meanings and take on new ones, specific to the collaged picture. That’s why, in order to become color parts of a collage, red, blue and yellow would first have to cease being red, blue and yellow, to be redefined as new colors in the system. However, as local colors can’t just stop being local colors, this new definition has to be rejected. So how can we introduce color to the collage then?

It has to happen via “straight” color photographs, and with his color works, Toshio Shibata proposes one possible solution. Every straight photograph captures a fragment of a readymade scenery, comparable to matchbox labels or pieces of wrapping paper in a collage, while every color in a color photograph can be seen as such a readymade article’s local color. Instead of combining his fragments into collages, Shibata infuses each single one of them with a collage modus, and by doing so he nullifies all local colors — the colors of dams, fields, trees, etc.

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… In that perfectly balanced zero position with neither reality nor pure beauty of color — or perhaps with both at once — the mixture of various alien elements surfaces immediately. In that moment, a blue sky becomes at once the color sky blue, just like any “color of X” becomes at once the “X color,” turning color into a hybrid quality. The color in Toshio Shibata’s photographs is dangling in midair between local color and color itself which enables Shibata to forge a new type of collage with color photography …

-Julie

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