Imaginary Landscapes

This series of experiments from 2020 is created by Hanako Murakami developing previously unused vintage photographic plates and paper that the artist collects from around the world. Murakami refers to this process as an “inner voyage” that simultaneously merges and reveals traces of time, place, and context. The space in her work is evanescent. She complicates fact and fiction by enmeshing her own contemporary experiences with photographic technologies sourced from different points throughout history.

Her ethereal photographs depict not one precise moment, but an accumulation. Experiencing the works here at an exaggerated scale beyond what is physically possible exposes the surface textures in minute detail, highlighting the materiality of each piece. In reality, the smallest in the series measures 10.4cm x 10.4cm (AGFA Brovira); the largest is 17.9cm x 23.8cm (Fitch Xylonite). Working out of her studio, or “laboratory,” the artist investigates alternative processes in photography to reconsider the potential of the medium.

Palpebra

In this new series titled Palpebra (2020), Hanako Murakami explores the origins of the raw materials she uses to produce her artwork. Latin for “eyelid,” Palpebra is a poetic ode to the photograph’s potential for emotional resonance and its influence on what the eye can see, eschewing the notion that pictures are facts that necessarily overcome fictions. Here, through a literary approach, Murakami’s writing is illustrated with photographs of vintage packaging of the unused films, photographic papers, and glass plates that form the point of departure for her work—quiet visions that explore the influence of photography on the imagination. Through Murakami’s lens, experiences transcend time and location, and are transformed through the manipulation of photographic processes into her own constructions of new realities.

Film Reels

“What we see as images are several different elements. There are traces of time, heat, imperfections from moisture, fungus, and also the exposure of the film itself (since I exposed them to light before developing). If I can pull those film reels to near 24 images per second, theoretically I'd be able to give some illusion of a motion picture. But with these experiments, I have only rudimentary ways to pull them. So, each time is a failure, but it is this failure—or the many ways to fail—that I want to show. Every failure is a good failure.” —Hanako Murakami

Vintage film reels developed by the artist in 2020 (top to bottom):
Pathé-Baby, Pathé, 1923-1930, France
Ciné-Kodak, Kodak, 1944, United States
Special film, Geveart, circa 1940, Belgium
Military film, Kodak, circa 1940, United States


Artworks courtesy of the artist © Hanako Murakami









Palpebra


網膜を光から遮るものは一片の皮膚、まぶたである。写真を網膜だと

すると、フィルムやプレートを包装するものはまぶたの一種だと言える。


It is the eyelid, a piece of skin, that blocks light from hitting the

retina. If photography is like a retina, the wrappings of plates or

films can be a kind of eyelid.



網膜は光に晒された時に、晒された光景の形に自らを変える。まぶたは

その時まで、外光を遮る。


The retina can change its shape reflecting the scenery where it is

exposed. The eyelids will conceal this from exterior light until that

moment.



フィルムやプレートの中には、二重に包装されたものもあれば、一重に

包装されたものもある。人によってまぶたが二重だったり一重だったり

するのと同じように。


Some plates or films comes with double wrappings, and some of

them comes with a simple wrapping. Like some people having

simple eyelids or double eyelids.



世界が網膜にぶつかってきて、世界の反映ができる。まぶたは網膜を遮

る。 包装紙に刻まれた皺は、二つの世界がせめぎあった跡である。


The world comes to hit the retina, and makes a reflection of the

world. The eyelid gets in the way. All the ripples on the wrapping

paper, are the traces of the two worlds competing.



目を閉じると、太陽はぼんやり とした光のフィルムになる。このとき、

目は閉じていると同時に開いている。


When you close your eyes, the sun burns like a blurred film of

color. The eye is thus closed and opened at the same time.