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One Picture Book Two #15 : Requiem.

Photographs by Kenro Izu.
Nazraeli Press, 2020. 16 pp., 14 duotone plates, 6x8½".



Signed copies available!

Publisher's Description

Signed on a loose print!

In 79 AD, the city of Pompeii in the south of Italy was destroyed, buried beneath volcanic ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted. At the time of its destruction, the population of Pompeii was estimated at 11,000 people. After the eruption, the city was lost for about 1,500 years until its rediscovery in the late 16th century. The objects that lay beneath the city had been preserved for centuries due to the lack of air and moisture. During the excavation, plaster was used to fill the voids in the compacted layers of ash that once held human bodies, enabling archaeologists to see the exact position a person was in at the moment of death.

The original casts are kept in an archive within the Pompeii site and because of their sacredness and fragility, it is prohibited to move them to other locations. Second generation copies of the casts have since been made, and are loaned out to museums for exhibitions, both locally and internationally, but no individuals are allowed to borrow them.

With the support of the Ambassador of Japan in Rome, the authority of Pompeii graciously made an exception, and granted permission for Kenro Izu to remove a selection of the copied casts in order to create photographic compositions at the Pompeii sites. In addition, the Pompeii authority has permitted Izu to photograph the original human casts in the archive building as “portraits” of the people of ancient Pompeii. For the work of Requiem, Kenro Izu created an imaginary scene of sometime after “the day”, when lives were extinguished by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, but among the scattered dead, plants have started to grow once again.

This huge volcanic eruption, almost two millennia ago, is as if a nuclear explosion were to happen today. This thought makes one fearful of such a possibility taking place, anytime now, to us.

Requiem is limited to 500 numbered copies, each including a 5x7 inch original print that has been signed by the artist.


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