Five Japanese Artists Weave Light Into Poetic FormView Slideshow
Hikari is the Japanese word for “light”. As the title of a new show at the ICIA gallery, hikari is both a direction and description of sorts used metaphorically as well as literally by the five Japanese artists showing at the group exhibition organised by photo collective Tasveer. Light is not simply the base element for all photography, but as these five suggest, a grander more mysterious one that cloaks and suffuses our lives with all its allegorical implications.
In Yuji Obata’s black-and-white shots of falling crystalline snowflakes, for instance, we see very clearly Wilson A Bentley’s startling discovery in the 19th-century that no two snowflakes are alike. Bentley, incidentally, to whom Obata’s works are an homage, is believed to be the first person to ever photograph snowflakes. Obata built on his technique by photographing them in motion. Tokihiro Sato manipulates the frame himself, by using torches and mirrors and a long exposure to create his electric streaks and dots. There is a fairy-tale illumination in his magical set-ups, where it’s never quite clear whether we’re looking at just a skilled manipulation of light beams or something more fanciful—fireflies or fairies perhaps?
Most electrifying are Ken Kitano’s composite portraits, where dozens of photos of different people are layered to create the image of a single person. The faces fall like domino blocks into surprisingly cohesive formation; the only give-away that they might be composed of more than one person is the hazy shake to their form. Whether it’s the soldiers guarding Tiananmen Square or the 23 Hindu pilgrims from Tamil Nadu, Kitano seems to suggest that we’re all stitched from the same mass, more alike than we’d like to admit.Tags: Art, ICIA, Ken Kitano, Photography, Tasveer, Tokihiro Sato, Yuji Obata
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