Minneapois Institute of Arts
New Pictures at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

ENTRY POSTED Jan 13, 2010

Repost: Noriko’s Answers to Your Questions

Hi Everyone! We’ve had some requests for a more formatted version of Noriko’s answers to the questions you left for her in the comments section of the original post, An Interview with Noriko Furunishi and You!. Here it is:


Q: According to David Little’s essay NORIKO FURUNISHI’S IMAGINARY LANDSCAPES, you interpret your work “more broadly-as a rejection of the Western landscape’s pictorial conventions rather than an embrace of the East.” Can you please comment on this? Do you agree or disagree with any of this?

A: I truly regret if I used such a strong word like “reject” [of the picturesque ideal] or if I came across sounding like that. It was more to express my interest in “creating” landscape images without existing familiar rules in landscape photography and painting than trying to present actual scenery.


Q: Also, though you may not focus on the idea of your work as an extension (or perhaps an evolution?) of the classic Japanese and Chinese wall hangings, surely you cannot ignore similarities such as size and shape, and most interesting, the disorientation caused through concealing and revealing nature in the spirit of romanticism. In Early Spring, 11th century, Xi Guo used clouds and ambiguous space to create a calm yet confusing landscape, forcing the viewer to become lost and without control, proving nature always rules supreme. Your photos do the same thing, but instead of clouds you use Photoshop. You subvert the ideal landscape and make the viewer question what they may think is reality. You, as well as your ancient artistic counterparts work in contrast with humanism by representing nature in ways that eliminate man as the viewer. The human is not centric, but rather nature is. It’s all very sublime and romantic. Do you agree or disagree with any of this?

A: It is true that when I was creating those landscape images, I wasn’t actively thinking about Eastern traditional landscapes but that doesn’t mean I dismiss the notion that my landscape images have a lot of things in common with them. After the images were created I received a lot of comments about that and it lead me to rethink the relation between my work and Eastern traditional landscapes. However unintentional, I agree that they share many obvious characteristics.


Q: I am fascinated with your technical process. How long does it take to digitally construct an image like Untitled (Dirt Track)? For an image of this scale, I can imagine it must take hours or even days. What is your process after the image is composted in Photoshop?

A: I wish it was hours or days.


Q: Why use 4×5 film and not a high resolution medium format camera? Is there something about film as a medium that you are attracted to or was it simply the tool you happened to have available that fit your needs at the time? Do you think you will switch fully digital process?

A: I would use a digital camera if they were as high resolution as large format cameras.


Q: Are your images representations of an actual place or do you consider them from another world that you have created?

A: I don’t see them as from another world. Maybe because I distinguish one image from another by nicknaming them with the place I shoot or the place where most of the negatives that I use to create that particular image came from, and I spend long time composing and creating the images, I feel like they are representations of an actual place even when the truth is they are not. So maybe “association” is the right word?


Q: Is there an artist that works in a medium other than photography that your work is often compared to in a technical rather than conceptual aspect?

A: Other than Eastern traditional landscape artists, I am not aware of any.


Q: Can you expand on your comment about your process of travel having importance in your work? How does this translate to the viewer?

A: The condition of always being in motion for a long time gave me the sense that I was hopping from one long “stream of history and time” to another and another. I felt my landing in a place at a particular moment was so insignificant and that I would have no effect on the stream. I had also realized that I was accumulating an amazing amount of images associated with the places that I visited, all stored in my mind. They might be distorted but all labeled with the names of the places. In my artwork, using photography, I was interested in incorporating the sense of “no particular moment” that I felt about my “insignificant landing” in any given place, with the sense of the continuous processing of the stored image memories. In my landscape images, the time and the places are blurred because sometimes there are weeks, months or even years in between each shoot, and also even if the final image look coherent the negatives used in the images are sometimes created in different locations. Even if all the negatives were shot on the same day or shot in a same area, there are time differences and my camera is not rooted in one spot when I shoot.


Q: What similarities and differences do you see between your technique and photomontage?

A: Similarities, using of the source materials to create images that are expressing the artists’ creative intentions with the medium long seen as a tool of documentation. Differences, with the new technology now, one can create composite images without looking obviously collaged.


Q: Do you view photomontage as a historic precedent to what artists can now achieve using image-editing software?

A: Yes and No. We can now create images that are seamless using some software. I see it as a truly liberating achievement for artists to create images that were not possible before. Before image-editing software any photographic images collaged using multiple source photographs had a hard time avoiding the cut-and-paste look because of the technical limitations. I see photomontage as a primal form of what we can do now, but I also see photography in general with this new technology as having more possibilities to express artists’ intentions and not just as the descendant of photomontage or collage but truly free form art medium.



Category: New Pictures, New Pictures 1: Noriko Furunishi


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