at Radium von Roentgenwerke AG
in the Bakurocho area
This event has ended - (2010-07-02 - 2010-07-31)
Sometimes things fall into place nicely. The right exhibition viewed on the right day at the right time; that captures a feeling that you yourself have wanted to but failed to put into words or print. A visit to Radium to see Koichiro Kutsuna’s “Wind Speed 0” provided this.
Located close to Asakusabashi station, a rare (we are in rainy season remember) sunny evening and the Kanda-gawa river provides a pleasant backdrop for the route to the gallery.
The exhibition itself is a series of seven prints, all taken from airports, featuring aeroplane trails soaring upwards, to the edge of the earth’s atmosphere and seemingly beyond, with dominant industrial constructions left behind on earth.
The photographs are aesthetically stunning, large Type C prints. The trails themselves composed of the tiny glowing red and white lights of planes already gone on their journey, and unnatural structures on the ground emanating a strangely beautiful glow.
But surpassing aesthetics, the exhibition captures the eerie and mysterious nature of the act of flying. A sensation that I always feel without fail every time I take a long haul flight.
Flying half way round the world in less than a day is unnatural, and there is a particular kind of loneliness and silence that is felt when suspended over the earth, staring down at, for example, the snow covered peaks of Scandinavia. Aside from the aeroplane engine there is an impenetrable silence. You have transcended all aspects of logical time and space, and this creates a magical but lonely space.
Kutsuna captures this silence and stillness perfectly, and the title of the exhibition supports this (Wind Speed 0 means “no air movement”). He encapsulates the essence of the journey itself, whilst the origin, destination, and means are left unseen. The trails unanimously lean upwards, posing questions about the possible destination, but yet it is the movement itself which is significant.
The multiple shades of blue in the prints capture the first glimpses of morning light, the time that is neither night nor day, mirroring the essence of flying: you are neither here nor there, you are suspended nowhere, in a microcosm, above all time zones and boundaries. The progression of the sky from light blue to almost black, leans more toward space travel than mere aviation, embodying the “out of this world” experience of air travel.
It is possible to see the industrial constructions on the ground as man-made trash left behind, whilst fresh untouched destinations are soon to be reached. But the enigmatic aura that Kutsuna has lent them suggests that something both unnatural but freakishly wonderful has been created. These concrete masses, such as cranes, airport hangers, and landfill sites all glow invitingly. Whilst aesthetically ugly, these places allow us to begin our transcendent journey. They are the essential beginning and end point. A necessary evil perhaps.
The setting for the exhibition suits it; the rail-less stairs, and soft orange glow, mirror the elevated journey and the magical atmosphere created by the prints.
A small but perfectly formed gem of a show.