Soft back 400 pages Publisher: Gallery Yamatani Dimensions: 30 x 21.5 x 3 cm
Yusuke Yamatani’s drum performance begins with a crescendo of cymbals. It is pitch black, but as the bass and snare drums kick in, intermittent strobe lights fill the gallery, activating sensors that set off three cameras positioned around his drum-kit. A nearby printer is hooked up to the equipment and mass-produces 500-or-so images of Yamatani throughout his 15-minute performance. After the show, the photographer randomly gathers his new prints, binding them into books on the spot.
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. This self-published photobook is a collection of these images, alongside snapshots from his time in Europe of landscapes, receipts, food and the people he met which presents itself as an edited reply to the unedited photographic expressions that originated from his performances.
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.
The book was originally published as a limited edition distributed to 181 supporters of Yamatani’s crowdfunding project. Partly due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as Yamatani’s wish for “more people to see this photo book which is part documentary and part road movie, about a half-naked Asian pulling off performances and driving around freely in Europe,” the book became available for purchase with the agreement from the crowdfund supporters.
Doors includes a long interview with Yamatani compiled from six different talk events.