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Max Pinckers and Daisuke Yokota are both interested in the surfaces of photography, and the limitations the two-dimensional image has in shaping our understanding of the world; make a two-dimensional image and you get a two- dimensional understanding.
Their work is about surface and adding dimensions to it in different ways, but where Pinckers questions the past frameworks of photography and looks at the historical tropes of photography and how they are embedded into our reading of images on a subconscious level, Yokota builds meanings up from the present, layering the past into his images through his repeated exposures and interventions with the primary print.
The series Two Kinds of Memory and Memory Itself questions the way we take photography for granted, the way in which we learn to expect certain things and to shut other things out, especially in a country that is defined overseas by photographic cliché.
It gets behind the expectations we have of Japan based on the clichés we have learnt to expect. Luigi Ghirri wrote, ‘Photography always shows what we already think we know’ and that is the sentiment at the heart of this project.
For this series, Pinckers took groups of Japanese dressed as salarymen, cosplayers, or sumo wrestlers to the fringes of urban Japan. Outfitted in suits, loin cloths, and bear outfits he took them to those Japanese places that we don’t see in Europe; the edges of streams, deserted car parks, the depths of the forest.
And once there he staged images of things that his performers were, according to the traditional representation of Japan in the west, expected to do. They collapsed drunk (in true salaryman style), they had naps, they smoked cigarettes, they were subjected to sudden gusts of wind, or they sang karaoke.
It’s an encyclopaedia of Japanese photography tropes then, and there’s very little mystery there.
That lack of mystery is what Pinckers unpacks. He varies the landscape, the players and the dress, and allows moments to unfold which he photographs. But simply because these combinations of landscape, players, and moments are different, we see something new. We see a Japan that doesn’t look as
CURATORIAL NOTE: Both artists were given the same amount and type of paper but their photographs were printed on opposite fibre directions. Max Pinckers’ work was presented vertically, while Daisuke Yokota’s horizontally, both using the same quantity of plywood. No nails or adhesives were used in the exhibition.
Edition of 1000 copies, with accompanying text by Colin Pantall.
Unusual interleaving publication by these two acclaimed artists.