kodama Gallery
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Press Release

Kodama Gallery Tokyo is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of Shiro Takatani, "Topograph / frost frame Europe 1987" from October 4th to November 8th, 2014.

Following his previous exhibitions at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, "Camera Lucida" (December 2013 to January 2014) and "Topograph / frost frame Europe 1987" at Kodama Gallery Kyoto (April to June 2014), Takatani introduces two series of photo work “Topograph / La chambre claire" and "frost frame / Europe 1987" as well as "mirror type k2", a mirror that shows normal images with knife-edge right angle prism, and video installation "Toposcan" in this exhibition.

"Topograph / La chambre claire" is a series of photo works shot by line scan camera. Line scan camera creates images, scanning object by line (a narrow vertical line of one pixel wide) and accumulating those slices of images horizontally like scanner or photocopier. Since the lens of camera is usually fixed and single focus, the obtained image looks perspective and solid for vanishing point and also familiar to us. However, line scan camera adds one-pixel-wide image always seen from right front of the object. The perspective of depth that makes the backward object in picture look smaller and narrower disappears from the sight. Though what we see there is not captured by human eye, it is definitely real. Therefore, the distorted image is so perplexing to tell whether it results from our eyes or the picture itself. To doubt what we can see is what we can believe leads to the question of what we can rely on to perceive our world.

"frost frame/Europe 1987" is a series of works using the pictures Takatani took in Europe in 1987. Compared to "Topograph / La chambre claire", he utilizes perspective composition to emphasize solidity or shading of object. The prints are mounted in box frames of frosted acrylic (acrylic plate like frosted glass) to get effect of foggy view like fading memory. This frosted-acrylic frame is able to adjust the distance between picture and acrylic plate. The image becomes vague when they get more distant from each other and becomes clear when they get closer. The frame functions as focus of the camera, blurs the image and implies the chronal and locational gap between the year of 1987 and the present (nostalgically). At the same time, it structurally reproduces optical phenomenon in camera which requires certain distance for the light through the lens to create an image on the focus.

"mirror type k2" is the only device that enables us to face our own look directly. Right-angle prism is literally triangular-prism optical glass with angle of 45°-90°-45° and opposite side between 90° is the front. Rays of light entering from the front are refracted by the opposite side between 45° twice or rotated. When you look straight ahead into this prism, you'll see your real image, not a reversed-mirror image, as others recognize you. It's so unpleasant to know your self-image is not as it is and weird to regard yourself as others. This series of works is extremely simple, creating image on the screen with optical mechanism. It urges us to contemplate what the essentials of pictures or images are.

"Toposcan" is a video installation work resembles in concepts of "Topograph". It is a panoramic work with four monitors of a 16:9 ratio showing the footage, which is exquisitely trimmed away, of the coastal hill where the prominent writer, Jean Genet's graveyard exists. The video shot by panning camera moves forward as if you are going around the graveyard. However, it is not just moving from side to side, it moves slowly from right to left or from left to right and gives us an impression that the edge of the image of 1 pixel wide is added in accordance with the video panning. It is because the whole monitor where the image begins is programmed to be covered with the scanning line enlarged one-pixel-wide image data at every seconds. It is like a tapestry, spinning thread out of data and producing the visual effect as if the thread of ray is weaving the image. Since the image monitor itself keeps the right angle of 16:9, the one-pixel-wide image added to the edge is left behind and become frozen as the trace of footage. In the end, when the image passes through the width of four monitors, the screen will be filled with the accumulation of the end side of 1 pixel-wide image. It is so enigmatic that as if the world is at a stand still. These images in the screen are exactly the "time" taken for panning a width of four monitors and "space" scanned on the basis of the same theory as "Topograph". Quiet time in the graveyard of exquisite bluff seems to be scanned in the the monitor. However, impossible lapse of time does exist there. And the monitors show impossible image being divided into 1 pixel, weaved and then untangled them again. Such new way of image keeps us searching for a new vision. How we recognize it? or how far we can go with it?

These woks of Takatani seemingly aim for the different direction from conventional photos (or footage). As the word "camera obscura (a dark room)" implies, photography is a kind of secluded work, confining light in a darkroom to print it. But, we are impressed by notion of "camera lucida (La chambre claire as lucid room)" as open work. Camera lucida is an original device of camera like camera obscura, however, unlike camera obscura which confines an image inside camera, it is a device to look both real image and reflected image, overlapping through lens and prism and bring an image to light. Is Obscura or darkroom essential for camera as optical device and for photo or footage as its production? "frost frame / Europe 1987" and "mirror type k2" let inside device out of camera (black box). "Topograph" emancipates image from aberration (of lens). "Toposcan takes border between notion of footage and photo away. Takatani utilizes both eyes of human and camera to broaden our view and lead it to light place.

Artist: Shiro Takatani
Title: Topograph / frost frame Europe 1987
Date: October 4 - November 8
Open: 11:00 - 19:00, Tue. - Sat.

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