Naoko Chiba & Antti Ylönen: Silent Stories of Land

04.08.2018 - 02.09.2018

Vernissage Fri 3.8. @5pm

Traditional natural sources of livelihood, old animistic religion, colonization history, rich storytelling tradition and big changes in the society caused by modernization.

Tōhoku, the northernmost region of Honshu island in Japan, has many similarities in history and culture with the sparsely populated areas in northern Finland. Japan and Finland seem to share also the structure of the society devided in two: the prosperous south and the raw material reserve of the north.

Photographer Naoko Chiba and visual artist Antti Ylönen met in 2015 while joining an art project in Fukushima, Tōhoku and today they are showing their works in a joint exhibition. By exploring the different layers of time, they describe how the history and social background of the Tohoku region are still reflected in the present day, and what kinds of signs of the lost indigenous culture or the decay of modernization can be found.

Naoko Chiba (b. 1972, Iwate) will exhibit a series "My father's house", the theme she has been taking photographs of for 20 years in Iwate region. Chiba's photos with texts discribe the story of her father's house as remains of lost culture in Tōhoku region after the modernization, and the faith that continues from ancient times. "It is not only the history of my family but also the history which leads to the identity of the Tōhoku region. Further it is a story trying to re-connect relationship of trust between nature and human being", says Naoko Chiba.

Cyanotype is an old method of photography printing. Using this technique Chiba is printing on traditional Japanese handmade paper, which gives pictures a deep blue color with appearance of memories and dreams. In addition, the indigo color brings the old tradition of dyeing cloth in Tōhoku region into Chiba's mind.

Antti Ylönen (s.1957, Juva) shows in his photographs a small piece of present reality, that is common to every remote place from where the people are moving to big cities to find better conditions for life.

"When wandering around the alleys and streets of Kitakata town in Tōhoku with my camera I payed my attention to different steps of history of this small peripheral town. Just like in Finland you could see same kind of silent fading and decay when young people have moved away to metropols. Little by little the small details of the neighbourhood started to emerge. The rough beauty and delicate colours of rosted tin walls, signs of past times in the windows of abandoned houses, certain kind of melancholy and also a lot of beauty in it.


Supporting grants from:
Pola Art Foundation
The Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation

Valto Pernu Foundation