MATTES, Eva & Franco
Fukushima Texture Pack

On March 11, 2011, the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan created a tsunami that laid waste to the country's east coast, causing a catastrophic breach at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Since then, access to the contaminated towns and surrounding countryside has been mostly limited to scientists and specialized decontamination crews. The project Don't Follow the Wind (2015–ongoing)—organized by the Tokyo-based art collective Chim↑Pom from Smappa!Group, together with Kenji Kubota, Jason Waite, and Eva & Franco Mattes—marked a historic exception: a group of artists entered the exclusion zone to produce a series of site-specific works. Installed in several venues on loan from former residents, these interventions comprise an exhibition that will remain unreachable in person for many years to come, until it will finally be deemed safe to return.

Fukushima Texture Pack is an artistic record of Eva & Franco Mattes' engagement with this contaminated landscape. Borrowing the format of books of wrapping paper, it contains twenty large pre-perforated sheets. Each features a visual texture, a surface captured on camera amid radioactive ruins. All such patterns afford a seamless repeating motif, should they be installed in a tile formation as wallpaper. They comprise a representative sample of the 152 textures the artists first released online as freehold digital files. The pages of this book may be used freely to cover other books, decorate boxes, wrap gifts, form origami, or they may be framed as small works of art

This artist's book extends Eva & Franco Mattes' interest in Fukushima's geographical displacement. Following its radioactive ungrounding, this location is now most accessible through its representation. But images are given to obscuring the matter at hand—to wrapping it up, so to speak, in a reduced form. The tragic proportions of the Fukushima meltdown outstrip virtually all frames. With this in mind, how can one maintain awareness of this nuclear disaster? How might we live with the facts?

The textures—sampling walls and floors, rust, bricks, gravel, underbrush, tatami mats, dirt, desks, closets, and more—are unspectacular by design. Eschewing the gnarled automobiles, collapsed buildings, and other wrecks left in the wake of the tsunami, the visual banality of these posters speak to an invisible crisis. Additionally, their modular, tessellating design allows for the limitless spread of a given motif. As possible wallpaper, they evoke the new baselines of background radiation, omnipresent in and around the exclusion zone—a new surface condition.

[publisher's note]

Published by Lenz, 2023
Artists' Books

Price: 35€

MATTES, Eva & Franco - Fukushima Texture Pack