The truly stunning ‘Color Photographs’ exhibition with incredible new work by Japanese artist Daisuke Yokota formed his highly anticipated debut in the United States, which opened for the public last September. Celebrated internationally for his interdisciplinary and energetic approach to art and bookmaking, the show focusses on the artist’s experiments with color photography. With this series, as Yokota explains, he “tried not to take pictures,” and instead sought to “draw out the physical aspect of film.” Yokota layered sheets of unused large format color film and applied unorthodox developing methods before scanning the results. Here, documentation is replaced with darkroom alchemy in order to show that the essence of photography rests not necessarily with the camera, but in film itself. Resulting in a extraordinary body of work, reminding strongly of the experimental cinema of Stan Brakhage, in the sense of it in our eyes being a perfect homage to the cutting edge work of the filmmaker. When in New York make sure to see this thrilling exhibition!
Within the legacy of the Provoke school, Yokota is working to redefine the role of image-making in the post-photography age. If his predecessors sought to destroy photography, Yokota has left the camera entirely behind. This practice upends the assumption that photography only records images from the world, and instead accentuates the physical particularities of an evolving medium.
Yokota’s focus on the materiality of film has produced a series of abstract images, seemingly transparent and liquescent in form. Taken together, Yokota’s ecstatic colors and unexpected shapes establish a new language for color photography.
Daisuke Yokota was born in Saitama, Japan, and currently lives and works in Tokyo. In addition to multiple international group exhibitions, Yokota’s work has been featured at the Foam Photography Museum, Amsterdam, the Rencontres d’Arles and Paris Photo, France. Yokota is the recipient of numerous awards for his work, including the John Kobal Residency Award at Photo London 2015, the Excellence Award at Canon New Cosmos of Photography 2008, the Epson Color Imaging Contest Award 2008, and the Grand Prize at 1_WALL 2010. In 2014, his book Vertigo was nominated for the Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards. Yokota is represented by G/P Gallery, Tokyo.
In an interview with The Guardian earlier this year, the Japanese photographer cites the experimental electronic musician Aphex Twin as a key influence in the work he creates:
There’s a sense that you can’t really see him, and this confusion is interesting to me. Then, to speak about his music, there’s a lot of experimentation with delay, reverb and echo, which is playing with the way you perceive time. Of course, there’s no time in a photograph, but I thought about how to apply this kind of effect, or filter, to photography.
The accompanying elegant book ‘Daisuke Yokota: Color Photographs‘ was published by Harper’s Books and Flying Books in an edition of 750. Within the edition, five sets of 150 copies bear different color foil stamps.
The exhibition will run until the 1st of December at Harper’s Books East Hampton, located on 87 Newtown Ln in New York.