Sohei Nishino "i-LAND"
Sohei Nishino begins his work with camera in hand, walking around every inch of a city. His debut work was "Osaka", a city he is thoroughly acquainted with. He used well over 150 rolls of film, surveying and photographing Osaka from about 50 locations. He developed them directly on photo printing paper, and then cut them out one by one and joined them together from memory. It took a year to complete this work, with a huge amount of time and energy invested. You can feel this just by looking at his works.
In 2005 Nishino entered his works "Osaka", "Kyoto", "Hiroshima", "Shanghai" and "Tokyo" in the Canon New Cosmos of Photography competition in 2005 and received the top award. In 2007, the modern art exhibition "Dialogue with the City" was held in Yokohama and Kobe, highlighting the works of young artists. Nishino's 6 works including "NY" created quite a memorable buzz.
This year, he completed his new work, “Paris,” and Nishino's 7 works from this series that he has been creating for the past 5 years will be coming to our gallery. Nishino's pieces usually are re-composed from copies of compositions and exhibited as a single flat work. However, in this exhibition we plan to present his works in the original versions just as they are. Most significantly, his color work exceeding 2.5 meters in size will be shown. This work truly opens up new frontiers.
The "Diorama Map" series made up of 7 monochrome pieces recreates the overall image of the city by hand, reshaping the city's characteristics. His images are true to form in a sense, and yet incorrect; in other words, he is trying to depict an image that comes from within the memory.
His giant color work "i-LAND" will be exhibited for the first time ever in Japan. It has a different concept from his previous works, as it depicts an imaginary city. Combining precise photographs of Japan that were previously taken with a bold new composition, he attempts to create a modern Japanese version of Sir Thomas More's "Utopia". This is not a criticism of an absurd reality. Instead, it tries to draw out something that would allow us to "co-exist" in a complex society with differing values. He is now on the verge of completing this work, but there is no doubt that he will keep at it until the day that it is unveiled at this exhibition. When this piece is finally unveiled, the glue will surely still be drying.
"i-LAND" appears digital when seen from afar, but as you approach this work you realize how much complicated work has gone into it. It has a craggy surface, protruding bits of glue and an accumulation of a tremendous number of photographs. The surface of this work has an unspeakable impact that overwhelms its viewers. In this post-digital age when digital technologies are a given, it is hardly surprising that so many works employing digital means of expression have emerged on the contemporary art scene.
Sohei Nishino has traded his mouse for a pair of scissors, and if he had cut-and-paste instead of actually using paste, his works would not draw people in as strongly as they do.
If the 7 works in the "DioramaMap" series are symbols of the modern city of the 20th century, his new work "i-LAND" is a map of Sohei Nishino's imaginings of a future Japan depicted with an even looser liberty of thought. Just one glance may convince you that it resembles an out-of-date Pop Art work, but longer viewings will make you hear the appeal of the artist's entire being.The impact of this masterpiece will break your heart.
-Seiji Komatsu, Director of Emon Inc.
From 2008-09-15 To 2008-10-17
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