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Hara Takafumi



Born in Tokyo Japan, lives in Tokyo and Germany. After finishing Masters Degree in Painting at Tama Art University, moves to Germany. He has been running his project in various places like 2006 Singapore Biennale, 2009 Havana Biennale, same time showing his painting works as well at many exhibitions.
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WHO 004
A5・68 pages
(Japanese & English)

A “Pink Window Project” - Hara has been running the project in various places including Japan, Germany, Singapore, and Brazil. In the project, he picks up a building in an area, and develops a project with locals
and those who have some association with the building. Finally, he exhibits all his research on the window of the building. People in the town find on the building some illustrations together with texts which he captured from conversations with the local.
Each place has its own big issues. In the case of Japan, the town has been suffering from depopulation. In Germany, He chooses an old water tower. At the moment of WW2, the tower witnessed people being transferred to concentration camps. Through the windows, thoughts of various people as well as historical facts start speaking gently to the public just like a picture book.

W:What does it mean to you to combine the other's words within your work?

Hara:I think words are an expression tool that everyone has. For example, one explains at great length, while the other summarizes. One tells with an oblique, one uses another way to tell, and some tell nothing. They are quite rich. In that sense, I think words are very picturesque. Yet, words are in its nature in flux and disappear, so I have the feeling that I would like to keep them.

W:Words being picturesque - very interesting.

Hara:When I meet or interview someone, I always try to see paintings by the person. It's exactly the same as I go and see paintings in museums and find the paintings favorable or disliked.

W:What kind of words you dislike?

Hara:There should be a matter of chemistry… I could not find it interesting if one speaks superficially and wouldn't tell the inside, or tasteless words as if nothing has been left after all these years of their life.

W:On the other hand, what are interesting words?

Hara:Those that fill the gap in my mind a little. Fundamentally, I'm trying to fill up something in my mind by listening to other people. There are various factors surrounding it, but essentially I will not have done this project without it.

W:Give me some examples, please.

Hara:I like words that one thinks about them carefully, let's say even hard things, digests them to make them soft, and express it beautifully. For instance, if somebody talks about wars, or having lost family, not simple words like “it was painful” or “it was hard”, but words that contain some clean expressions. All the same time, the expressions contain not only the cleanness but also cruelty and many other aspects.

W:Do you use such words in your projects?

Hara:Yes, I do. I'm afraid that when viewers only see the words, they may not understand everything that I felt. But if I select words so that EVERYONE understands it, phrases can become too appellative to be bored. I with viewers find little by little the sense, mood, or feelings of our era that I find.

W:There are always illustrations with the words. Do you also intend to explain these feelings with the illustrations?

Hara:I find visual expressions can be also boring when it is appellative. For me it looks like characters in fairly tails.

W:It reminds me of their talking to us softly. I agree with your idea, fairly-tail-like illustrations.

Hara:Like Aespos's Fables, it's too realistic in it's original version. Over the time, it becomes to the roundabout expressions by editing, simplifying, or replacing with others. Thus when we read them, we know it's tails and it's amusing, but at the same time, we are sure of something chilly or horror in it, because of its' messages. I like this effect and would like to get the similar feeling into my works.

(from WHO004)

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Shuji Sugihara
1976, Born in Kanagawa Japan.
WHO chief editor/art director