Max Pinckers invites Japanese photographer Daisuke Yokota for a duo exhibition at Gallery Sofie Van de Velde in Antwerp where Pinckers will be presenting work from the new series Two Kinds of Memory and Memory Itself, produced in Saitama prefecture during a residency for European Eyes on Japan with the EUFest Japan Committee and the European Capital of Culture 2015.
Born in 1983 in Saitama, north of Tokyo, Yokota is part of a generation of young artists using photography in subversive new ways. His approach combines multiple rephotographing and printing, applying acid or flame to the end results, and making one-off prints and books from unexpected materials in staged public performances (Sean O'Hagan, The Guardian, May 2015).
The exhibition in Antwerp is a prelude to an upcoming publication project by Italian-based publisher Rorhof (www.rorhof.com) with the two artists later this year. Both diligent photobook makers, Pinckers and Yokota will collaborate with Nicoló Degiorgis from Rorhof to produce a book.
"The idea of thinking about Japan as different from anywhere else, including Asia, is seductive. Yet there are many reasons to reject this notion… if we look closer, much of Japan's supposed 'essence' turns out to be a relatively modern distillation." David Pilling, Bending Adversity, 2014.
The work that follows is taken from Pinckers' latest project, Two Kinds of Memory and Memory Itself, which looks at the strange place Japan holds in the collective mind of the West. Projected as other and isolated, Japan's unique self image is in part self-created under the project of nation building, as well as being a construct of outside perspective and popular fetishisation. Japan is a target for Western fantasies, often informed by cliches of barrel chested Yakuza, manicured bonsais, cosplayers, wasted bankers, and sumo's.
On his arrival in Japan Pinckers found little evidence of these motifs and none of these preconceived elements seemed to be the most culturally predominant. This conflicting experience resulted in him searching for these constructs within the contemporary Japanese landscape, creating staged scenes influenced by cliche and by existing images created by foreigners. Two Kinds of Memory and Memory Itself was produced for European Eyes on Japan / Japan Today vol. 17 with the EU-Fest Japan Committee and the European Capital of Culture 2015.