© Bruno Destombes
Audio and visual concordance is key in Ryoichi Kurokawa’s works. The Japanese artist considers both the audio and visual elements as different vectors of one unique piece that have to flow together and enter into collision at the same time.
Based on this principle of hybridisation, the audiovisual concert subassemblies explores the relationship between nature and human-made structures through an architectural perspective.
The main visual sources of this project are 3D data captured from laser scanning, thermal images and filmed footage of forests, architecture and ruins which are distorted and reconstructed into modules as subassemblies, thus creating a renewed timeline with renewed layers of order and disorder while revealing the force of both nature and art.
Japanese artist Ryoichi Kurokawa (b. 1978 in Osaka, currently living and working in Berlin) is a true poet of the transformative cinema, lyrically transfiguring the analogue representations of perceived nature into digital streams of vertiginous imagery and emotion.
The architecturally crafted precision of his sensitively synched fragmentary images placed side by side on our retina tends to displace the persistence of blurred memory under the effect of boundless luminosity.
All of his works lie in the notion of hybridisation: between analogue and digital, but also between time and space, the full and the fragmentary, the simple and the complex, the reactive and the contemplative, the auditory and visual.
Kurokawa’s significant solo and group exhibitions, performances and permanent works include: Coder le Monde, Centre Pompidou (France, 2018); The Dream of Forms, Palais de Tokyo (France, 2017); One of a Thousand Ways to Defeat Entropy − The 54th Venice Biennale (Italy, 2011); Synthesis, Tate Modern (England 2007), among others.
subassemblies has been shown worldwide, including at Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria), TodaysArt (The Hague, Netherlands), Scopitone (Nantes, France), Mutek (Montreal, Canada) and Mutek JP (Tokyo, Japan).
Concept, direction, composition, programming: Ryoichi Kurokawa / producer: Nicolas Wierinck / coproduction: LOXOSconcept (Matera 2019), MUTEK, Scopitone/Stereolux, TodaysArt / produced by Studio Ryoichi Kurokawa
subassemblies is part of a larger project called s.asmbli / subassemblies which consists of a concert piece, installations, printings (sculptures) and a screening version.
aesthetics of conversion
The work of the Japanese artist Ryoichi Kurokawa is in keeping with a trend that could qualify as the aesthetics of transcription or conversion, which has been part of the history of art for almost a century.
Over the last fifteen years, various artists in the field of digital art have sought to create installations and audiovisual concerts (in sensitive, audible or visual form) to capture our imagination in terms of digital data. Others, from a more synaesthetic perspective, have searched to showcase the concept of signal aiming to visualise sound signals with the help of machines, and turn images into sounds (willingly abstract and geometric) through calculations on computers. This artistic current began in the 1920s at a time when many artists were trying to give birth to time-based visual works whose range of movements, abstraction, geometry, and occasional concrete figures, seemed to adhere more to the dynamics of music. Pioneers of this approach include Walter Ruttman, Hans Richter, Viking Eggeling and Lazio Moholy-Nagy. In more recent decades, through the power of visual music, Oskar Fischinger, Len Lye and Norman McLaren have explored some of these principles.
From the late 1960s to the end of the 1980s, artists were given access to computer and video equipment in laboratories, studios and institutions dedicated to research and creation. This gave a new impetus to the ideas initiated by the avant-garde at the beginning of the 20th century, and generated the films and videos (sometimes in the form of a study) of John Whitney, Ed Emshwiller and the duo, Steina & Woody Vasulka, all of which continued to pace up and down the territory of abstraction, while filmmakers such as Robert Cahen and Gary Hill explored the boundaries of portrayal and language.
Since his early work in the mid-2000s, Ryoichi Kurokawa has followed the same work process: distorting (with the help of software) images and sounds that he himself records in natural environments and urban spaces. Through digital manipulation, his source materials gradually move away from their original form, gaining abstraction, revealing a visual and auditory universe of shades and tones, sometimes poetic but more often dynamic, animated with light convulsions and hypnotic pulsations. Technological and innovative as they may seem, in effect, his works originate from the most concrete reality and more still from the surrounding nature that the artist considers "not from a romantic point of view, but rather formal", drawing inspiration from "its structures and its movements".
His works are often modelled on the numerous Japanese practical artists who, from calligraphy and poetry to theatre and dance, often develop their work within a willingly animist relationship with nature: its rhythms, forms and seasons. However, the novelty of this work is that here, Kurokawa’s approach originates from a more scientific viewpoint than in the past.