Until the Meiji era, a kitchen was also called kamado (かまど / stove). There are many sayings in the Japanese language that quote the word as it was considered the symbol of a house. The term could even be used to mean “family” or “household” (much as “hearth” does in English). Separating a family was called kamado wo wakeru, or “divide the stove”. Kamado wo yaburu (“break the stove”) means that the family was broken.
Julio Bittencourt’s latest work, is the culmination of a 2 year project at Gunkanjima Island, in Japan. The choice for shooting on this island which was evacuated in the 70’s by Mitsubishi is particularly important in the context of this series, which involves the company’s choice of interrupting its charcoal mining activities and the end of an era of the industrial period.
The artist immersed himself in one of the remaining buildings on the island where people had previously lived in, and where each apartment looks exactly the same. He precisely directed his view to register each kitchen, whose design and various embodiments of desertion have originated the object of this exhibition. The photographer sought a narrative through people’s belongings that were suddendly abandoned, and what we take with us and what we leave behind.