by Laura Gomes
We chanced upon it on an aimless stroll in Odaiba, the futuristic cityscape in Tokyo. Its cargo-container structure resembling a checkerboard pattern struck me immediately, incongruous even in a port area. There was a massive photo hanging on the side, depicting a boy reading to an attentive elephant. My eyes roamed for additional clues until I glimpsed the sign, “Museum Entrance.” This was the site of the Nomadic Museum, the home of the soul-stirring photographic exhibit, Ashes and Snow.
Described as an “ongoing project that weaves together photographic works, film, art installations and a novel in letters,” the exhibit showcases the interaction between man and “nature’s living masterpieces,” culled from over 15 years of expeditions to far-flung locales around the globe.
Ashes and Snow was first launched by the artist Gregory Colbert in 2002 in Venice. The Nomadic Museum, itself a work of art, accompanied the exhibit in future showings in New York, Santa Monica, and now in its current state in Odaiba, Tokyo.
A wooden-planked footpath leads viewers through the corridors of the dimly-lit exhibit. The photographs themselves are all done in sepia and umber tones and printed on handmade Japanese paper. The direct spotlights on the prints make them visually assertive, highlighting the dramatic and evocative nature of the photographs.
There are no accompanying explanations provided, allowing freedom of interpretation. The exhibit is at times provocative and heart-warming, and the images, in their deceptive simplicity, can inspire, awe, and even induce a sense of serenity. The beauty of the exhibit is that, in true nomadic style, it is constantly evolving while maintaining its essence, as new works are added at each port of call. For more information, visit the official website: http://www.ashesandsnow.org/.
To buy this article for use in your publication, click here.