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Akio Nagasawa Gallery AOYAMA is pleased to announce the exhibition of Antony Cairns’s latest works, “TYO3” and “TYO4” (both 2020). Following “CTY” in 2019 (featuring images of London by night printed onto aluminum plates), this is the second exhibition of the artist’s works at the gallery.
Having continuously explored urban nightscapes, this time Cairns presents pictures that were shot during the night in Tokyo (TYO) only. Up to now, he used to manipulate his photographs in the darkroom, turning them into abstract images that no longer exhibit the characteristics of the cities they were taken in, to extract the raw energy that the respective cities contain at night. In “TYO3” and “TYO4,” however, the structure of Tokyo, with individual buildings and streets making up the city, is clearly visible, and thus the location of these photographs can be easily identified as Tokyo.
This is directly connected to the vintage IBM computer paper from the 1970s, onto which these works are printed. The artist first selected this type of paper, and then started looking for appropriate images to print on it, as a result of which he decided to photograph nightscapes in Tokyo. As described above, Cairns is particularly careful about the selection of shooting locations, darkroom manipulation techniques, materials and printing processes, all of which work together to ultimately create one image as a unique piece of art.Now what will the viewer see and sense from the nightly scenes of Tokyo that emerge from the sheets of vintage computer paper?
Sceneries of the high-tech city Tokyo, printed on a material as flimsy as computer paper produced in the 1970s… From this contrast, these works are certainly interpretable as reflecting Cairns’s own civilization-critical take on the city of Tokyo.
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. Cairns has exhibited and published widely, in Europe, the United States and Japan. He lives and works in London.
TEXT: SIMON BAKER
CTY (2 vol. set)
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)
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