By Hanne Hagenaars

David Takashi Favrod was born in Japan in 1982. When David was six months old, his parents decided to move to Switzerland, his father's country, where his mother gave him a very Japanese upbringing.

In his first book, Omoide poroporo, he speaks of his continued struggle with the paradoxes surrounding the question ‘Who am I?’. Favrod doesn't feel at home anywhere. In Omoide poroporo, he tries, step by step, to disentangle and to feed his memory, using his own memories of Japan, intermingled with his mother's stories and those of his grandparents. Searching for identity is like feeling homesick for a fictitious place: he mixes his Japanese roots with the Swiss background, resulting in fanciful images in which both influences are intertwined.

The images at this exhibition are from the series Hikari, meaning The Light. This too is an investigation into his identity: who you are is determined not only by your own memories, but also by history. Favrod breathes new life into events that he may not have experienced himself, but which did have a certain influence on his life.

In World War II his grandparents lived in Kobe, which suffered heavy bombing during the final months of the war. But in Kobe no-one talked about the past anymore, thus placing the period, like a dark, black pool, firmly in the past. His grandparents witnessed it themselves, but their death erased this memory too. Dave spoke to them once about the memories and the pain, about the death of his grandfather's beloved younger sister.

Little Mishiko became ill during the war. The doctors suspected dehydration and her parents lovingly gave her small pieces of watermelon containing plenty of water. But they ended up having to close her eyes; the doctors were wrong: she suffered from lack of salt.

For Favrod the past was a foreign country. To avoid drifting off in the quicksand of memory, Favrod reconstructs situations from those early days. Delving into history and carrying it with you may be a necessary condition for consolidating your own identity.
‘Love or hate the past, but always keep it in mind. You have to get to know yourself thoroughly. Only then will your deeper identity gradually let go and slip away behind the sun, leaving behind your body, bloated, swollen, irritated, and ripe for new suffering.