Join CCP for a special talk by CCP Photo Fair exhibiting artist, Tom Blachford, who will take audience members further into the futuristic world of Nihon Noir. Blachford will discuss the full breadth of works in the series, including those not exhibited, and provide insight into the inspiration he has drawn from his first visit to Tokyo; the architectural aesthetic of Kenzo Tange and his Disciples of the Metabolist movement; and neon noir cult classic cinema.
About the Artist
Represented by ARTITLED Contemporary in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany, TOTH Gallery in New York, and Duran|Mashaal in Montreal, Tom Blachford is a leading Melbourne-based photographer working at the intersection of long exposure photography and exploration of the built environment. Working since 2014, Blachford’s ongoing Midnight Modern series has been exhibited internationally and released as a monograph by New York based publisher Powerhouse, while he is a three-time finalist in the Bowness Photographic Prize (2016-2018), and twice finalist in the Royal Photographic Society International Prize (2016, 2019).
For the inaugural CCP Photo Fair, Blachford presents his latest series of fine art photographs, Nihon Noir, which arose from a fascination with Tokyo. The artist particularly aims to translate a feeling that struck on his first visit, that of being transported to a parallel future where everything is more alien than familiar.
Blachford explains of the series, “Pronounced Nee-Honn, the word simply means ‘Japan’ as a nation and together with Noir creates a play on the Neon Noir genre of film that inspired the aesthetic of the series, particularly the seminal classic Blade Runner and the later work of Nicholas Winding-Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives).””
“As a starting point the series follows the work of Kenzo Tange, Japan’s Pritzker Prize-winning architect and his Disciples of the Metabolist movement of postwar modernist architecture. I selected a core list of buildings that embodied the Metabolist philosophy which attempted to combine the creation of brutalist megastructures with the principles of organic growth. Beyond the core interest of the metabolist movement I also tracked buildings created during the post-modern era of the 1990s as well as tighter street vistas that spoke to me and embodied the cyberpunk feeling of Tokyo.””
Shot by night and devoid of people, the images are intended to ask more questions than they could ever answer. Each building required hours of exploration to find the perfect vantage point, whether it be from a rooftop, stairwell, or road workers’ crane lift, which Blachford commandeered to capture the exhibited Nagakin Capsule Tower from an otherwise impossible perspective.
While the buildings Blachford has shot were constructed in the past (from the 1970s to 1990s), they appear as if they have materialised from the distant future. He concludes, “My intention is for the viewer to ask not ‘where’ they were taken, but ‘when’.”