Raoul Ries – 36 views of Mount Fuji
These photographs are inspired by the famous set of woodcuts Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji Katsushika Hokusai produced between 1830 and 1832.
Despite the wide variety of shown scenes, most of Hokusai’s colour prints share a common structure. In the foreground people are going about their daily business, the middle ground refers to a different time-scale like seasons or things decaying, and finally a glimpse of mount Fuji hints at changes too slow to be perceived during a human life.
Hokusai’s woodcuts are part of a genre called ukiyo-e, which means ‘images from a floating world’, floating both in time and in space. They are clearly composed in different layers, letting Mount Fuji hover above or next to the world of humans. Often civilisation intrudes graphically into Fuji’s sacred space. Trees or posts cut into the mountain’s silhouette, house roofs and other constructions imitate its triangular profile.
Hokusai’s prints share several elements with photographs: they represent fleeting moments, they create a memory of simple events and people’s relationship with time is a major subject in the images. Just as photographs the prints are mechanically reproducible and they were affordable and not considered high-brow art.
This series is about time, about moments, seasons, years, lifetimes.