Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

David Favrod's "Gaijin" at Spazio Cerere, Rome

Posted in Exhibitions / Openings / Signings, Eyecandy, Historia & Memoria, Photography by Suzanne on September 20th, 2011 | BBC Wikipedia


From the Gaijin series by David Favrod - click to enlarge

Young photographer David Takashi Favrod was born in Kobe, Japan, the son of a Japanese mother and a Swiss father but grew up in Vionnaz, in the Swiss Valais Canton - a cultural duality that has strongly influenced his work ever since.

David says of himself that:

"For a Swiss, I am a Japanese and for a Japanese, I am a Swiss or rather a gaijin."


From the Le Tremblement Du Temps series by David Favrod - click to enlarge

Not an unproblematic - and often misunderstood - word but one so very important to Japan's understanding of itself and its relations to the rest of the world, Gaijin was chosen as the title of his solo show at Rome's Spazio Cerere which opens tomorrow evening.

Gaijin is also the title of probably his most intimate and powerful series of photographs - three of which you can see in this post (I sneaked in one picture from a different series because it's so very epic). All pictures were created in Switzerland but are full of references to Japanese culture and history so that the two countries and identities become one.

Being a Swiss living abroad and looking "back home", I very much understand the gaijin aspects of this series - the Caspar David Friedrichesque melancholy and animism in the uprooted landscape, the yearning of the changing seasons, the confinement of the tiny human between mountains and valleys, forests and moors, rivers and avalanches, the maddening impossibility of a horizon, the constant threat of the skies and the elements.


From the Gaijin series by David Favrod - click to enlarge

And from an interior perspective, there is so much psychological claustrophobia and spatial morphing in what are seemingly profane living room settings. Something that Gregory Crewdson or Estelle Hanania or even David Lynch also manage to get across. David Favrod has it too - the talent to make rooms morph so that they appear haunted, wallpapers century-old and scratched, baths overflowing and floorboards creaking.

The yōkai have arrived and are spooking about with the Toggeli.

It clearly adds to the Unheimliche that three protagonists in his Gajin series are not only wearing face paint or masks but have ropes, chains of lights and plaited hair tightly wrapped around their necks.

There is ONE thing, however, that makes the inherent uncanny of his oeuvre almost unbearable for me and that's the fact that there is this picture of his dad (?) wearing a Swiss military uniform common in the 80s which looks precisely like a picture of my dad in a Swiss uniform of exactly that period. And I don't mean they look similar, I mean they look ALIKE... o_O

Details below. Please note that this solo show will only last for 5 days, so if you're planning to attend, do it sooner than later.


From the Gaijin series by David Favrod - click to enlarge

Opening reception: Wed, Sep 21, 2011, 7 PM

On show: Sep 21 - 25, 2011

Address: Spazio Cerere, Via degli Ausoni 3, 00185 Roma, Italy, tel: +39 06 45422960, email: info@spaziocerere.it

Artist's website

WurzelForum discussion

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42 comments to " David Favrod's "Gaijin" at Spazio Cerere, Rome "

  1. Gravatar

    piparkakku says:

    you made my day.

    September 22nd, 2011 at 11:01 am

  2. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    Well, I am very happy to hear that, piparkakku. :)

    Did you go see the exhibition? x

    September 22nd, 2011 at 1:22 pm

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    AkaTako says:

    That looks absolutely amazing.

    September 22nd, 2011 at 10:50 pm

  4. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    I know! I wish I was in Rome. (,_,)

    September 23rd, 2011 at 1:44 pm

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    piparkakku says:

    no,i'm going to see it tomorrow! thank you

    September 23rd, 2011 at 2:36 pm

  6. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    Yay! Well, I hope/I'm sure you'll enjoy yourself. Let me know how it was. x

    September 23rd, 2011 at 2:44 pm

  7. Gravatar

    piparkakku says:

    i couldn't get in there because i didn't find the entrance. i asked a girl for information in a near gallery, and she told me that it was probably closed on weekend °__° no information on the internet or anywhere else, seriously. i'm so disappointed with the organization of the exhibition

    September 25th, 2011 at 1:04 pm

  8. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    I'm very sorry to hear that. Did you go to the address in my post? I know two other people who went and had no problems getting in. Today was also the last day - the information I got from them was "from September 21st at 19.00 to September 25th at 13.00" so it's definitely closed now. No mention about being closed on weekends. Maybe give them a call on the number I provided above and ask what was going on. :(

    September 25th, 2011 at 1:14 pm

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    piparkakku says:

    yeah, i went to that address, there was only the entry phone, and nobody answered

    September 25th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

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    Suzanne says:

    Hmm.. I'd still give them a call or send them an email to let them know you're disappointed and that they should improve on visitor information. I hope you didn't come from too far away and had a good rest of your day in Rome. x

    September 26th, 2011 at 2:54 pm

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    piparkakku says:

    i did, thank you (:

    September 27th, 2011 at 11:36 am

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    Suzanne says:

    And what was their excuse/explanation?

    September 27th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

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    piparkakku says:

    they told that they only rent their place, and that it's not their responsibility to keep it accesible >__>

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

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    Suzanne says:

    Hmm.. a very unprofessional position. I'm so sorry this has been such a bad experience for you. Trust me, it happens to me plenty of times and I just got used to making a huge scene when I'm not let in because a simple "Don't you know who I am?! I am The Wurzeltod. I could annihilate your entire species and pulverise your planet!" doesn't always work.

    September 29th, 2011 at 4:41 pm

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