It so happens that, at times, objective reality seems to pay obeisance to a different, man-made and culture- born order of life, what Walter Lippman so skillfully termed pseudo-environment. So, as far as the story goes, it is not the world itself, but an image of said world that what we recognize to be true. Such surreal perceptions of life are the main subject of Tokyo-born and New York-based artist Shinichi Maruyama.
‘By putting together uninterrupted individual moments, the resulting image as a whole will appear to be something different from what actually exists’ says the artist about his most recent project, the photographic series Nude. The cycle makes stunning references to ‘a human being’s perception of presence in life’ as said by the artist himself.
After a childhood spent by the beautiful mountains of Nagano, Japan, Maruyama started his quest for art and beauty, with Tokyo as the starting point of his career, while the city of New York allowed his art unfold in front of a more global audience. He then joined Hakuhodo Photo Creative; one of his many innovative advertising campaigns brought him the New York ADC Gold Award. This is when he started working with high-speed strobe equipment; this also happens to be the time he learnt how use technology as a bionic extension, an arm that would paint ideas as abstract as time and the human nature, in novel and digital ways. His images were never the same again.
The photographic series Nude was created in collaboration with choreographer Jessica Lang, with every image being the digital fusion of ten thousand shots of nude models dancing. Modern technology allowed the artist to take as many as 2 thousand photographs per second. He recalls Étienne-Jules Marey , a scientist and a famed photographer who lived a century ago and used a camera that could shoot no more than 12 photographs a second. ‘I know the advancement of technology has allowed me to create these new images that would have been impossible for others in the past’, declares a Maruyama who is most grateful to his digital era. He then goes on to say, ‘I tried to capture the beauty of both the human body’s figure and its motion’. Truth be told, Maruyama’s photographic series appears to arrest a quality that seems overwhelmingly primal, in that it shows a human form, unclothed and engaging in forceful movement, thus having something strongly evocative of a stage previous to civilization. On the other side, the images are elegantly modeled by the hand of the artist, who, despite their sculpture-like quality, delicately extracted the human shape from the thousands of layers of images.