A year ago or so discovered the art of Edward Burtynsky; stunned by the beauty of his work I wrote several posts on my discovery. Just the other day I stumbled across the work of Japanese Naoya Hatakeyama, which made me yet again recall Burtynsky – there are several similarities between the two of them.

From “BLAST” © Naoya Hatakeyama

Both artists are well known for their large-scale nature scenes, pictures which captures our will (or hunger?) for re-shaping nature. And they both make ruins into fine art, thereby forcing their audience to see double: the beauty of destruction & and the catastrophes of man’s interventions in nature.

From “BLAST” © Naoya Hatakeyama

It’s a well-known fact: Our lifestyle is destroying the planet, but is it the task of contemporary art to underline it?

From “BLAST” © Naoya Hatakeyama

I do not believe artists have a greater responsibility than the rest of us, we are all in this together, but when art manages to evoke our shared responsibility – without compromising aesthetic qualities – I do believe it’s onto something very important. Art can make us think through our senses, reaching us like no logical well-formulated political or ideological argument ever can. And I guess we really need to try all options, art included, to stop ourselves from the final annihilation.


Naoya Hatakeyama was born in 1958 in Iwate, Japan. He lives and works in Tokyo.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Rio says:

    “I do not believe artists have a greater responsibility than the rest of us…” This gave me a bit of a bitter chuckle, considering how badly artists are treated in general by the “first” world. The reason that so often we find artists representing the violence perpetrated on the defenceless is the defenceless are their neighbours and their neighbourhoods are places “up for grabs” whenever the corporate eye turns to gaze at them… Their only defence is to hold a mirror up, and hope that the reflection sours the milk in their coffee.

    Thanks for posting these. I will definately look up Edward Burtynsky and Naoya Hatakeyama!

  2. Harold Rhenisch says:

    These are very exciting images. Thank you!

  3. These images remind me of Steve Tobin’s “bang pots,” some of which are quite large. His effort is to create the kinds of chaotic beauty inherent in physical forces, as in these photos.

  4. Pingback: BANG! | sub rosa

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