Drawing on Fukushima

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Following the events of March 2011 at Fukushima I began to work with images that addressed the surreal reality that had begun entering through the rift that the disaster had torn open within our world. I was first drawn to a more prayerful response, using digitally generated imagery, and these can be found under the category ‘Fukushima Prayers’ here. However, as time went on and the situation began to impinge upon the world with no apparent solution being proposed, I began to register the fact that there is a global blind spot around this disaster. Some of that is undoubtedly deliberately generated through media avoidance of the subject, governmental and organisational deception that, when it is investigated, is revealed to be a pack of downright lies about what is really happening in Japan and its true impact upon the world. In response I began to explore the psychological impact, initially from a personal point of view, through drawings as opposed to digital imagery – I felt it needed the visceral and human dimensions of the drawing medium to really get into its felt and experienced heart, to get a sense of the destruction on both emotional and physical levels. The techniques used here change with the images, as they are largely unpremeditated, but, I find a great immediacy in working with compressed charcoal and chalk on a fairly large scale, generally 140x100cm. I also pull in raw pigment, various liquids, some organic, some manufactured, and extraneous material that I have around the place (my home is my studio and its a magpie’s nest!). Bringing the unforeseen together within this context allows it to find a genuine path of emergence on paper, such that it is a real physical encounter and dialogue. This gives the work a physical presence that adds to the impact, but, it does present a problem too. Digital images almost always have a polished and manufactured quality, a technical veneer if you like, about them which both reduces the impact of the imagery and creates its own translation on top of that imagery, in effect distancing us further from the reality lived in the encounter with the artwork. In a way this is a metaphor itself, for the way in which we remain at a distance from the reality of Fukushima, even though it is present with us right now, where ever we are!  Although it may be ironic to say this and then present the drawings here through electronic media, I hope that the impact of the originals survive the journey……..

One thought on “Drawing on Fukushima

  1. Pingback: Fukushima Prayers and Visions | ROB PURDAY

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