untitled (after Piranesi)
untitled (after the Piranesi), version 2021 at TPR
Emmanuel Guillaud’s works often start in Tokyo, while rarely being about Tokyo. While he was still living in the Japanese capital, he began to be obsessed by the subway underground network. Versions of this long running project have been exhibited in various in-situ versions at Yumiko Chiba & Associates (« Black closer to white » with Takano Ryudai), the French Institute in Tokyo and, last year, in Cannes.
Guillaud’s original project for TPR was to come back to Tokyo and pursue this long time investigation of subway as a control mechanism. But the world changed, Covid closed borders and Tokyo became suddenly inaccessible.
untitled (after the Piranesi), version 2021 at TPR is a work made of leaked and imagined images.
In the underground of Tokyo, thousands of cameras are constantly tracking, evaluating, qualifying the silhouettes, movements of passers-by. Most of these images remain secret – except for those taken by one of the subway company. They are – absurdly – data processed and published on their app every minute, from every station of their network. This mass of useless images tell how addicted to speed, efficiency and data we have become. For the artist, these images are also reflections of a far away Tokyo, leaked through the internet.
Faced with the impossibility to access Tokyo during the pandemic years, Guillaud also created another kind of image: an imaginary view of Tokyo. Projecting his memories of Tokyo on the urban surroundings he was locked down in, he captured images linked to some universal qualities of Tokyo as a giant megalopolis, reminiscence of Tokyo arising from his gaze.
Both images were captured using a relatively low tech, old smartphone. After collecting thousands of Tokyo images through an app, about 40 of them were selected, reordered and projected on a dark screen.
The above video is a view of the installation meant to be produced and exhibited in Tokyo, but which in fact exists several kilometres away in the artist’s underground atelier. untitled (after the Piranesi), version 2021 at TPR is about a maze that has neither center nor any beast. The monster is the labyrinth itself. It submits passengers into flows of docile bodies.
In memoriam of Kristelle Frocain.
Emmanuel Guillaud and Colin Henderson, Kristelle Frocain, Marion Gronier, Tomonari Kawano, Jonathan Hall. 2021