Antony Cairns

3/16 - 4/28/2023
GALLERY HOURS | Thu.–Sat. 11:00–13:00, 14:00–19:00
CLOSED | Sun–Wed., National Holidays

*Depending on COVID-19, the exhibition period and the content may be changed.

Akio Nagasawa Gallery Aoyama is pleased to present "PXL CTY," a solo exhibition by Antony Cairns.
Antony Cairns (b. 1980), born and currently based in London, has exhibited his work throughout the world including Europe, the U.S., and Japan.
This exhibition will introduce a Tokyo version of his solo show in 2022 at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP, Paris, France).

In this exhibition, Cairns presents a new series of works taken from his larger project entitled CTY. Fascinated by the idea of the metropolis, Cairns records major cities from around the world both photographically and with video. In his work the artist reflects on the urban landscape by using techniques and technologies usually considered obsolete such as PXL2000 video cameras, computer punch-cards, and COBOL codes. This recourse to processes and supports which date from many decades ago – a relatively long time in the short history of the photographic medium - permit Cairns to rethink and rework individual images. In PXL CITY, buildings, their facades and commercial centers seem to be surrounded or distorted by haloes of light that make them hard to ‘read’ as structures. To produce these images Cairns first takes a photograph or film, and then intervenes directly on their surfaces, as in the case of the hand-colored prints included in the exhibition. The aesthetic of his work evokes the visual codes of science-fiction and futuristic writing. And if the human figure is often totally absent from his cityscapes, it is perhaps here that Cairns questions our relationship to the urban environment and the ways in which technology shapes our perceptions of it.

Antony Cairns' solo exhibition of his past works will be on view at Akio Nagasawa Gallery Ginza as well from March 30 to April 28. We look forward to your visit.


Antony Cairns


Antony Cairns (b. London, 1980) takes photographs at night, using the available light cast by buildings in urban centers like London, Tokyo and Los Angeles. In many cases the structures that he chooses are still under construction, little more than the skeletons of the office buildings and luxury apartments of that they are destined to become. His work is resolutely non-topographic, in the conventional sense in which photography has been used to record spaces, structures and architectural styles. There is more, however, to Cairns’s work than simply his distinctive approach to picturing the urban environment. His is a practice that accepts and embraces the photographic medium in its sophisticated entirety: from the effect use of light on analogue film, through a range of experimental darkroom processes, to an innovative and highly specialized understanding of the supports available to the photographic image in the twenty-first century.
Cairns presents his work in a number of complementary but contrasting ways: from painstakingly layered and assembled artists books LDN (2010), LPT (2012), OSC (2016); to translucent films of silver gelatin applied directly to sheets of aluminium, LDN2 (2013), LDN3 (2014); to experiments with electronic ink, both in working Amazon Kindle reading tablets hacked to contain his complete work, LDN EI (2015); and on their extracted frozen screens; strange distant descendants of the daguerreotype, TYO2 (2017). Cairns was also the winner of the 2015 Hariban Prize, resulting in a residency at the Benrido Collotype atelier in Kyoto. Once again faced with the possibility of extending and expanding the photographic image through its reproducible character Cairns made a series of interventions within, and interpretations of, the collotype process LA-LV (2016). Cairns has recently begun to explore the prehistory of the digital age in several related ways, by printing his works and assembling them as montages on early computer punch cards, OSC Osaka Station City (2016) and by using the screens of outmoded digital cameras and equipment to screen and project his work. He has a forthcoming project at the V&A in London in 2023. Cairns has exhibited and published widely, in Europe, the United States and Japan. He has published many books of his work including CTY (2017) with Morel Books/Akio Nagasawa Publishing and Computer punch card selected artworks (2021) with Morel Books.
He lives and works in London.



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Akio Nagasawa Publishing edition of CTY: a negative-positive reversed and reconstructed version of the Morel Books edition.

CTY (2 vol. set)

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Two kinds of "CTY" published by Morel Books and Akio Nagasawa Publishing with a special box case.

CTY brings together a large selection of Antony Cairns’ oeuvre from his various cities/projects in London, Las Vegas, Tokyo and Osaka, (including LDN3, LDN4, LPT and OSC), interspersed with 6 texts by Simon Baker (senior curator of photography, TATE). Each text takes a quote as starting point from authors including JG Ballard, William Gibson, HP Lovecraft and Benjamin Péret to introduce themes of urban life and urbanisation, including Drowned City, Ruined City, Abstract City and Endless City. – from website of MOREL BOOKS

CTY (Special Edition)

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Only 15 copies of the special edition book with the original photograph in a special sleeve.
Include a copy of the book and Silver Gelatin coated aluminium plates with a certificate signed and numbered in a special case.

  • Plates size: 160 x 215mm
  • Special case size: 240 x 182 x 50mm

TYO2 Inverted

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42 double sides screen printed plates rect shows 42 single images verso builds up as single 42 plate composite image.

Computer_Punch_Card_Selected_Artworks: Computer_Listing_Paper_Edition

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For more than ten years Antony Cairns has been working between analogue photography and different technologies of printing and reproduction, investigating the ways in which the photographic image can live on the page, screen or other supports. The original material, the archive of images that Cairns has produced, has been entirely concerned with modern cityscapes – black and white photographic works made at night, using available light and often resulting in images that range from ‘hard to read’ to entirely abstract. In a way, however, these images have always only been the starting points for his own experiments with technologies of reproduction and circulation: whether as handmade photo books; silver gelatin printed directly onto aluminium; traditional techniques like the collotype; or the use of electronic ink - the substance used in the screens of the first generations of e-books like the Kindle.

Computer_Punch_Card_Selected_Artworks:_Computer_Listing_Paper_Edition brings together 72 versions of the latest and most complex iterations of this practice. While retaining the same original photographic source material, which remains black and white images of cities like London and Tokyo at night, this time the support brings colour and an element of chance into the final image.

The reproductions are printed onto original custom made computer listing paper. The book is designed so that it can easily be unbound to become 18 panoramic artworks of 4 images/pages.