neutral density

It is a Sunday after the rains and it’s too beautiful to rant. But rant I will: There’s probably no more overused word in the Japanese art world lexicon than “neutral,” and I am generally left cold by anything appended with “scape” — as in landscape.

So of course when I saw that here was a photo exhibit at the Ginza Nikon Salon by Yasushi Matsumoto called “Neutral Scape,” I just had to go — if only to see if I could make myself like it. Here is the description from Tokyo Art Beat

What to say? The photographer’s own written words were hung alongside tract on “neutral” by an art lecturer, which made me believe that I needed conceptual eyeglasses to appreciate the images. “Neutral” in this case means 「宙に向けて開かれている」(open to the sky), 「気が抜けている」 (flat, as in a deflated tire or day-old soda), 「風の通りが善い」(breezy), and 「滞留していない」 not stagnant. In visual terms that means wide intersections, parking lots and other sorts of spaces that others will claim are interesting exactly because of their unbudging lack of interest. That’s the beauty of the stance, I guess.

I found it interesting, mostly for the fact that someone senses that one corner or another is deflated. When I looked on I tried to flatten the images for myself– without much luck, my barometer was broken. Anyway urban ph levels are a variable and personal thing, it changes with each second and step. The photos succeed, if only by not being one thing than another.