Kenro Izu began a project “Requiem for Pompeii” in 2015, in collaboration with Fondazione Fotografia Modena, dedicated to the Campanian city destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD and buried under ash and rock. The excavations did not only bring to light buildings, but also the exact forms of the bodies of the inhabitants at the moment of their deaths, captured by making casts of the gaps left by their frames under the hardened layer of detritus.
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.