On the road

European Eyes on Japan

Curator: Mikiko Kikuta | Artists: Jon Cazenave, Łukasz Rusznica

Jon Cazenave and Łukasz Rusznica visited Japan to participaten in
European Eyes on Japan / Japan Today vol. 18, a famous residency program
taking place every year in a selected Japanese prefecture.

Since 1999 the project team of “The European Eyes on Japan” along with the editors of “Japan Today” magazine have been inviting renowned photographers from various European capitals to portray the everyday life of Japan. Project’s aim is to show Japanese people their country through the eyes of photographers who have a new, unexpected artistic perspective, which lacks Japanese cultural stereotypes, meanings and customs. In 2016 Mikiko Kikuta, curator of this year’s edition of the project, invited Jon Cazenave from San Sebastian and Łukasz Rusznica from Wrocław to cooperate. Both photographers portrayed the everyday life of Kagawa province.

Jon Cazenave | Omaji

Jon Cazenave’s work is the result of the dialogue the author engages in with land. The author, who has been so sincere in discovering his roots and identity, seemed to me a great choice to capture the essence of Kagawa and the result exceeded my expectations. He used the language of photography in several ways: cyanotype performed through washi (Japanese paper) and sea water, analog and digital cameras, print screens of websites. All that comprises a vision of Japanese society, through the respect of the oldest traditions to the openness to new trends. Cazenave travels through space and time, noticing voices coming from the sun, water and rocks. He entitled his work Omaji, which to me sounds like a name of an island, either Japanese or Basque, either from the past or the present, or even all of these at once. The paradise one may visit by deliberating and seeing the photograph through their own perspective.

Mikiko Kikuta


Jon Cazenave – born in 1978 in San Sebastian. Jon graduated Economics at University of Deusto. Since 2007 he has been working of a long-term photography project ‘Galerna’, portraying the complexity and variety of Basque identity. His work was esteemed on various photography festivals, such as: Les Rencontres d’Arles, Noorderlicht, Photoespana, TIPF, Encontros da Imagem de Braga and Tbilisi Photo. Jon Cazenave was also invited to collective projects: “Horizon”, “a research laboratory” or “Ixil Ar”. During his career he has published three albums: “Herri Ixilean”, “Galerna”, and “Ama Lur”/  joncazenave.com

Łukasz Rusznica | Sometimes the border is thin

Yokai (monsters) are still a live part of Japanese culture, existing not only in stories and old texts, but also in contemporary literature and pop culture.  While visiting Takematsu, I wasn’t that interested in monsters – I focused on people much more. A monster is a mask with which people felt safer and at the same time more shameless. Because of the mask a dialogue, a trip to the forest and river, photographs were all possible.

In the complex Japanes cosmology where a stone or trees standing next to temples are kami (deity), spirituality is rooted in physicality, practice and experience. In both aspects (working with a model and unearthly experience of the world and spirituality) yokai let me fulfill my need of contact with someone/something alien. To fill a void.

Contact with nature, sitting under a tree, feeling that you are part of something bigger, calmness coming from that – all of it is significant.

Natural beauty, true nature. It’s rather surprising that words harmonising so well turn out to be opposites. Or maybe I should say that their relationship is much more complicated and strained. What is natural about a forest planted according to economic needs of the 60s? Most forests in Japan had been cut down and replanted by humans in that period. What is natural in the concrete shore line of Japan, conrecte cliffs and mountain slopes? What is real about that. Concrete. And yet nature works. No matter how hard we try we can’t control it.

Łukasz Rusznica


Łukasz Rusznica – since he graduated Culture Studies at University of Wrocław, his works have been exhibited in many galleries in Poland and abroad. The author of photobooks “Smog”, “Near, Infra”, “Toskana”, and one designed by Thomas Schostock – “Najważniejszego I tak Wam nie powiem [The Most Important Thing Stays a Secret Anyway]”. His works have been published in magazines like SZUM, BIURO, LaVie, Machina and POST. He collaborated with Anna Lawrynowicz on HandJob and Sama Mama projects, and Waldemar Pranckiewicz on I'll be your mirror, published as an artistic book. Laureate of ShowOFF section of the Month of Photography in Cracow, 2012 and WARTO 2015 award. Currently, he is a curator of a photography gallery Miejsce przy Miejscu belonging to Ośrodek Postaw Twórczych in Wrocław. / lukaszrusznica.com

European Eyes on Japan – Omaji and Czasem granica jest cienka.
Curator: Mikiko Kikuta
1 – 11 September 2016
Gallery Studio BWA Wrocław
46A/13 Ruska Street, Wrocław

More information about project: EU-JAPAN FEST

The exhibition was prepared in collaboration with European Capitals of Culture in Wrocław and San Sebastian.



About exhibition (PDF)