Elektra Virtual Museum

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Japanese artist Ryoichi Kurokawa (b. 1978 in Osaka, Japan - Lives and works in Berlin) is a true poet of the transformative cinema, lyrically transfiguring the analogue representations of perceived nature into digital streams of vertiginous imagery & 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. 

Ryoichi Kurokawa

Audio and visual concordance are key in Kurokawa’s works. He considers both the audio and visual element as different vectors of a unique piece and insists that they have to flow together to enter a collision at the same time. As can be viewed from his works, Kurokawa states that nature is his principle source of inspiration. All of his works lie in this notion of hybridization. Between analog 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 has done significant collaborative works throughout his career, most notably his collaboration with Vincent Minier —an astrophysicist and researcher at CEA, Irfu - Paris, Saclay —to create the immersive and tactile audiovisual installation unfold based on data produced by the satellites of the European Space Agency, NASA, and more specifically by the Herschel space telescope.

Ryoichi Kurokawa

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 century, and evoked 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 continue to pace up and down the territory of abstraction, while filmmakers such as Robert Cahen and Gary Hill explore 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, such as urban spaces.

Through digital manipulation, his source materials gradually move away from their original form, gaining abstraction, revealing a visual and auditory universe of tints 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 whom, 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.

The work of the Japanese artist Ryoichi Kurokawa is in-keeping with a trend, or an aesthetic of multiple contours, that could qualify as the aesthetics of transcription or conversion, which runs through much of art history for almost a century.

Over the last fifteen years, in the field of digital art, many artists have endeavoured to materialise (in sensitive, audible or visual form) installations and audio-visual concerts in order to capture our imaginations regarding digital data. Others, from a more synaesthetic perspective, seek 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 wave 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 within 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.

01 Jun 2022 - 01 Jun 2023

Metamorphosis Metaverse
Pavilion 1