Since the late 1990s we have seen rapid social change, with a notable development being the proliferation of new media. In Japan, these changes are typified by the rise of otaku culture (otaku is a geek or fan obsessed with anime and manga) and their association with social networks on the Internet, which link such individuals together. These online communities allow the otaku a new voice with which to express themselves and a direct link with the world. This new channel of communication has lead to a dynamic shift in the relationship between 'self' and 'world' found in modern societies. This project examines this new style of communication which is particularly evident in contemporary Japan. Rapt! is not a simple introduction of Japanese contemporary art, but a cross-cultural exploration of it, based on the extensive discussions and research of Japanese and Australian curators and researchers. The project will take place in various stages around Australia between July and November.
Hirofumi Katayama's images seem at first glance to be photographs, but are in fact meticulously rendered drawings. He painstakingly recreates workplaces and other spaces using vector drawing programs. While also emptying them of human presence, Katayama introduces a sense of incongruity to these seemingly ordinary interiors.
Asako Narahashi's use of focus and colour in her photography lends a feeling of otherworldliness, a sense of scale that positions the viewer in a world of models or toys. The sea in her series half awake and half asleep in the water, tends to fill the frame and, like other motifs she employs that are often askew and blurry, frames the skyline in sharp relief acting like a moment in a half-forgotten dream.
Kazuna Taguchi's practice endeavours to question our ideas about realism on two-dimensional surfaces. Her acrylic paintings are completed only after the finished work has been photographed. This concept of the painting not being a completed artwork but merely a photographic subject–a phantom of the ‘real paintings' captured in photographic images–challenges viewers to define what realism might in fact be within painting or photography.
Tomoko Konoike's role-playing map of Melbourne allows visitors to mark their own place of interest, creating a personalised social map of the city. Her larger installation reveals her evocative drawing style and cinematic framing and incorporates sculpture and anime. Juxtaposing plastic toy daggers, wolf skin and broken mirrors with detailed, hand-drawn, monochrome illustrations (one short animation consists of approximately 3 600 pencil drawings) she creates her own dream-like world. Other reoccurring motifs in her work include a six-legged wolf, knives and semi human figures. These works present the adventures of a faceless character called "Mimio".
Centre for Contemporary Photography
404 George St, Fitzroy Victoria 3065, Australia
+61 39417 1549
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Seven nights after dark