Excavating the Future City

Through His Camera, Naoya Hatakeyama Reimagines and Rebuilds Our Human Environment

Naoya Hatakeyama, #41408, 1994, from the series Lime Works; from Naoya Hatakeyama: Excavating the Future City (Aperture/Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2018) © Naoya Hatakeyama

Naoya Hatakeyama, Kohlenwäsche Number 2, 2003, from the series Kohlenwäsche; from Naoya Hatakeyama: Excavating the Future City (Aperture/Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2018) © Naoya Hatakeyama

Naoya Hatakeyama, #08316, 1999, from the series Blast; from Naoya Hatakeyama: Excavating the Future City (Aperture/Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2018) © Naoya Hatakeyama

Naoya Hatakeyama, #02607, Loos-en-Gohelle, Pas-de-Calais, Hauts-de-France, France, 2009, from the series Terrils; from Naoya Hatakeyama: Excavating the Future City (Aperture/Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2018) © Naoya Hatakeyama

Naoya Hatakeyama, #202, 2006, from the series New York/Window of the World; from Naoya Hatakeyama: Excavating the Future City (Aperture/Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2018) © Naoya Hatakeyama

Naoya Hatakeyama, #6411, 1999, from the series Underground; from Naoya Hatakeyama: Excavating the Future City (Aperture/Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2018) © Naoya Hatakeyama

Naoya Hatakeyama, #004, 1993–94, from the series River Series; from Naoya Hatakeyama: Excavating the Future City (Aperture/Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2018) © Naoya Hatakeyama

Japanese photographer Naoya Hatakeyama, who was born in Japan in 1958, has spent decades exploring and documenting the human-made environment, with a particular emphasis on cities. He has explored everywhere from a limestone quarry overrun by colonies of bats, to the rebuilding of Hatakeyama’s hometown, Rikuzentakata, which was pulverized by a massive earthquake and devastating tsunami in 2011. What the artist seeks to capture in his startling images are the intertwined, endless processes of birth, death, and rebirth. And through this, he envisions the future of our built environment.

A comprehensive survey of Hatakeyama’s work is the subject of a new book, Excavating the Future City, co-published by Aperture and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. In these remarkable photographs, we see new urban landscapes arising from the rubble of the past. We perceive that our ability to recreate our world, over and over again, is limited only by the power of our imaginations.


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