The exhibition 生死-しょうし is the premiere of Lazar’s two photographic series: The Sea of Trees and Gaijin`s Diary. The Japanese title refers to the cycle of constant wandering, the circle of birth and death. Both projects will take shape of photographic installations. The works show the repressed dark side of the life of the metropolis.
The Sea of Trees
Aokigahara Forest is a beautiful woodland area located around 100 km away from Tokyo, Japan, at the northwest base of Mount Fuji. Also called “Suicide Forest” or “Sea of Trees” (Jukai — Japanese name). From the air, it looks like a green ocean.
It formed around 1000 years ago, after an eruption of Mount Fuji. Its size is approximately 35 square kilometers. In the 19th century, it was the site of the ubasute ritual practice (“an infirm or elderly relative was carried to a mountain, or some other remote, desolate place, and left there to die, either by dehydration, starvation, or exposure, as a form of euthanasia“).
The Suicide Forest phenomenon really started in 1960’s with the story of an unfulfilled love in the book Tower of Waves by Seichō Matsumoto. A couple that could not be together decided to commit suicide inside this forest. The impact of this story resulted in around 30 people yearly committing suicide in the Aokigahara Forest, until 1988.
The next step of this dramatic story was influenced by another book called The Complete Manual of Suicide by Wataru Tsurumi. Not only unfulfilled love, but also depression, made the number of suicides rise to 105 in 2003. Many bodies have not been found to this day, and many mysteries surrounding the Suicide Forest remain unsolved. It is still a taboo topic in the Japanese culture.
Music: Jakub Holak
"I have been fascinated with Japan since I was a child. A place that is very remote geographically, but, at the same time, close to my heart. A country that can inspire many, amaze some and scare others.
The daily rituals of a few-hour working day are followed with the nightlife that I have been fascinated with and attracted by. It is completely different from the repetitive daily patterns and routines. It is the time and space allowing the Japanese to vent their emotions, unload their frustrations, have fun with friends, and get lost in the streets of the gigantic city of Tokyo.
While staying in Tokyo for nearly two months, I traveled over 800 km on foot during the night, being carried away by the feelings, moods and vibrations of the city. Trying to penetrate different areas of nightlife, meeting and observing new people. Taking a trip beyond the boundaries of consciousness and inside myself. Sometimes entering the void.
The result is the diary documenting the journey inwards and the world on the edge of sleep and consciousness…"