BERLIN.- High up, above the peaks of the holiest mountain sits enthroned the goddess of light, watching over Mount Fuji and all volcanoes. But where the good spirits rule, the demons of the underworld are never far away. At the foot of Mount Fuji, the holiest mountain for the Japanese lays the forest Aokigahara. The forest is so dense and obscure that one can easily get lost in it and it is said that the subsoil has a specific consistency, which makes even compasses fail. Since the 1960s, people who want to commit suicide come to the forest to end their lives. In case they change their minds, and the desire to live wins over their death wish, they trail Ariadnes threads behind them, so that they can find their way out again.
Sascha Weidner has followed these threads that permeate the whole forest, with his camera. He was warned not to enter the haunted forest where ghosts strike terror in peoples hearts. But the dark fascination of the forest was stronger than any cautionary tale. In a very subtle way, Weidners photographs are able to give us an insight into this place where real human suffering and motifs from the world of myths are entangled in one another. Hereby, the images are not a direct or an offensive depiction of death and decomposition. They merely suggest or intimately indicate; they carefully sift through the eerie territory.
The exhibition Aokigahara is also a photographic account of the infamous Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees as they call it; but first and foremost it is a photographic contemplation of light and darkness, of life and death and the threads of destiny that everyone trails behind oneself.
Sascha Weidner (*1976 in Osnabrück) studied Photography, Painting and Communication Design at the University of the Arts in Brunswick, Germany. He has won numerous prestigious awards, such as the Award for Photographic Art of the Alison & Peter Klein Foundation and in 2010 he won the Berlin Art Prize, awarded by the Academy of the Arts Berlin.
His work deals with the »search of a refuge, where utopia orchestrates real- ity and viceversa«. Sascha Weidners work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions as well as in public and private collections. His latest solo-exhibitions include »shooting animals« at Lower Saxony State Chancellery, Berlin, Germany (2013), »the sorrows of young w.«, solo project at Goethe Institute, Prague (2012), »since tomorrow«, solo show at C/O Berlin, Germany (2011). In January, Sascha Weidner has been named as the inaugural winner of the entrepreneur 4.0 award.
The work for the exhibition Aokigahara also arose during his residency program at the Villa Kamogawa in Kyoto, Japan last year. In 2012 he was appointed a member of the German Photographic Society.