"There are times when you stumble over a photograph and you wish you had made it. The same is true, for us, with books. Yoshikatsu Fujii‘s 'Red String' is such a book. We fell in love with it the first time we saw it, and it is a book we take off the shelf quite often. It has all we look for in a great book: compelling narrative, amazing concept and design, nice feel, and personal investment.
When Yoshikatsu approached us about a chance to collaborate, we were incredibly excited.
This season, we will be working to produce and publish the “trade” edition of 'Red String'. We put 'trade' between brackets for a reason. While it is not possible to replicate exactly the handmade and sold out edition of 35 copies, we will put every effort into producing an edition that stays true to the original hand made feel. (...) This edition of the critically acclaimed 'Red String' includes new, never before seen photographs and is available with two different cover images." (publisher's note)
About the book idea:
"In Japan, legend has it that a man and a woman who have a predestined encounter have had each other’s little fingers tied together by an invisible red string since the time they were born.
Unfortunately, the red string tying my parents together either came untied, broke, or perhaps it was never even tied to begin with. But if the two had never met, I would never have been born into this world. If anything, you might say it is between parent and child that there is an unbreakable red string of fate." (Y.F.)
"The first time that we open Red String, we are confronted with two snapshots. On the left, a young father, sitting on a concrete embankment by the water, gives us an inquisitive look while holding what appears to be his newborn child. On the right, a smiling mother, sitting on the same embankment by the same body of water, holding the same child.
As the snapshot aesthetic hints, these are memories. A glimpse into the past, when things were whole. But even at that early moment, the separation was evident. Already the mother and father were apart and the baby split between them.
What follows on the inside of this wonderfully constructed artist's book is a reconstructed journal of this separation. An attempt to make whole that which was (and remains) broken. Flipping through the two sections simultaneously, we see fragments of that which was: wedding portraits, family photos, snapshots from youth and so on. In the words of the artist, Yoshikatsu Fujii, "My family will probably never meet all together again. But I can feel without a doubt that there is still proof inside each of us that we once lived together."
As Fujii explains in the text at the back of the book, there is a Japanese legend that says predestined lovers are tied together by an invisible piece of red string, from the moment they are born. While that red string between his mother and father was apparently sundered, Fujii offers his Red String as a way to bind these losses back together.
Thus, the structure and layout of the book, combined with the fascinating mix of photos (old, new, black and white, color, abstract) blend together perfectly, offering an intimate artistic experience. It is exactly the kind of experience that is the unique province of this ever-changing, but loosely bound together thing we call the photobook." (Alexander Strecker, for Lensculture)
"His project 'Red String', motivated by his parents’ divorce and produced as a hand-made photobook of a limited edition of 35, was nominated for several awards including the Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards. The book was also selected by TIME magazine as one of the Best Photobooks of 2014. The book is retained in MoMA The Museum of Modern Art Library in New York." (ceiba)
"Many entries this year featured a dual structure but this one, with two separate bound books, one on either side of the cover’s interior, is both logical and allows multiple readings." (Anne Wilkes Tucker, photography curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)
"The split binding allows the reader to page through one side and then the other, but the powerfulness comes from pairing both halves together. In this delicate and personal family album, Yoshikatsu Fujii ties the memory of his family back together with the cultural metaphor of red string." (Larissa Leclair, Founder of the Indie Photobook Library)
"I feel this totally hand-made book features the bonds of human. The title comes from some old Japanese saying that a woman and a man who have fate to encounter is tied with red string on their little fingers together. The book shows us a simple thing, a man needs a man anyway. Also I like warmness of the touch sense of this binding by the photographer himself." (Hisako Motoo, independent curator and editor)
About the photographer:
Yoshikatsu Fuiji, born and raised in Hiroshima city, graduated from Tokyo Zokei University of Arts with a BA in art film. He began photography work in 2006, and now lives and works in Hiroshima. His photographic works often deal with his own view towards the relationships within his family."
Meiner Meinung nach schon jetzt die interessanteste Neuveröffentlichung 2016! Nachdem Yoshikatsu Fujii das Buch in einer Auflage von nur 35 Exemplaren veröffentlicht hatte, war bereits schnell klar, dass diese Auflage bei weitem zu klein geraten war. Um so erfreulicher, dass sich der Verlag CEIBA für das Projekt interessierte, um eine Trade-Edition mit einer Auflage von 500 Exemplaren heraus zu geben. Dass diese Edition mit zwei verschiedenen Cover-Bildern - 1x das Paar in traditioneller Hochzeitskleidung, 1x in westlicher Ausstattung - wird wahrscheinlich b dazu führen, dass auch diese Erstausgabe bald vergriffen sein wird....
Zum Inhalt und zur Gestaltung: in der japanischen Tradition verbindet ein paar ein roter Faden, sodass jeder Mensch von Geburt an schon jemandem vorher bestimmt ist. In 'Red String', welches der Sohn eines inzwischen geschiedenen Paares veröffentlicht hat, stellt das Kind den roten Faden dar, das die Familie immer noch verbindet. In diesem Künstlerbuch verarbeitet der Sohn die Trennung seiner Eltern, fügt die getrennten Abbildungen wieder zusammen und zeigt die Verbindungen.
Das geschieht in großartiger Weise als in einem weichen Filzumschlag zusammen gehaltenen Doppelband mit Fadenbindung. Soweit nur irgend möglich, setzte auch der CEIBA-Verlag die Gestaltung des in 35 Exemplaren hergestellten Künstlerbuches um: die gefundenen Lösungen überzeugen insgesamt und haben die Fotobuch-Welt um ein wunderbar einheitlich gestaltetes Fotobuch bereichert! Unbedingt empfehlenswert!