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After Images

Nikita Notowidigdo reviews the recent exhibition After Images: Sketches by Australian architects in solidarity with Japan.

After Images


November 16th, 2011

After Images is an exhibition and auction of sketches primarily by Australian architects capturing stories of Japan, in support of the Tohuku region’s recovery from the devastating earthquakes and tsunami of March 2011. The collection includes beautiful works by Richard Leplastrier, Tadao Ando, Brit Andresen, Peter Stutchbury, John Wardle, and Camilla Block amongst others.


The understanding of a ’sketch’ is conceptually expanded to include photographs, collages, watercolours, linocuts, etchings and even an entire sketchbook.


John Wardle, Breakfast in Bed Tray

“Nevertheless, the collection has an integrity that resists formalisation in language. It has more the quality of a mood in a room. The mood is something like respectful generous admiration, coupled with wonderment at the impossibility of ever pinning down Japan-ness, but nevertheless aspiring to,” described Ross Anderson, creator of After Images and Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Sydney.


Brit Andresen and Mara Francis, Sendai screen-work with Waves


Peter Stutchbury, Fushimi Inari Shrine

Walking through the exhibition space with sake in your right hand and a cup of edamame on your left, you suddenly feel like you are not in Sydney. The sketches take you into their own little boxes of Japan, depicting journeys and experiences from different eyes of the people behind the memories.


Ro Murray, Untitled


Ross Feller, Kyoto Rail Station Fire Stairs

A sketch of Tadao Ando’s 21_21 Design Sight brings you back to the moment before the stunning museum was built. Matt Chan’s collage reminds you that while ’Made in Japan’ means quality and rarity now, it was synonymous with cheapness in the 80s. Meanwhile, Sean Choo and Leesh Tag Tom’s ’Dear Tohoku’ takes you back to the very first reason why this exhibition was here in the first place: a silent prayer, a message of condolence, and a message of hope.


James Maccormick, Australian Pavilion at Osake World Expo ’70


Andrew Burges, Machiya Kanazawa

“The sketches in After Images are variously echoes, amplifications, transformations, interpretations, multiplications, observations, investigations, lamentations and celebrations of Japan; a country both enduring and enigmatic, ancient and always new,” Anderson noted.

After Images Sketch Contributors
Grant Amon
Tadao Ando
Ross Anderson
Brit Andresen
Peter Armstrong
Camilla Block
Michael Bremner
Tim Browne
Andrew Burges
Andrew Burns
Damien Butler
Alfonso Calero
Sean Choo
Tom Cole
Philip Cox
Jon Crothers
Tanya Crothers
Neil Durbach
Ross Feller
Anna Field
Jan Fieldsend
Mara Francis
Terunobu Fujimori
Christina Frank
Ben Giles
Sean Godsell
Harley Graham
Tom Heneghan
Kirstin Hume-Grimm
Jun Inokuma
Toru Irie
Chris Johnson
Yoshihito Kashiwagi
Jasper Knight
Karen Lambert
Richard Leplastrier
Kevin Liu
James MacCormick
Yasuhiro Minami
Lucy Moloney
Shin Murakami
Ro Murray
Andrea Nield
Lawrence Nield
Claudia Perren
Paul Pholeros
Caroline Pidcock
Keith Pike
Alex Popov
Peter Poulet
Neil Renfree
Luigi Rosselli
Adam Russell
Jun Sakaguchi
Olivia Shih
Sophie Solomon
Lee Stickells
Marie Stucci
Peter Stutchbury
Isabelle Toland
Maria Tornatore-Loong
Vesna Trobec
John Wardle
Simon Weir
Tim Williams
Maeve Woods

After Images was created by Ross Anderson, Tom Heneghan, and Keiko Hosoda with the support of Paul Berkemeier, and realised in collaboration with Aya Kaneko, Sean Bryen, and Kevin Liu.


Featuring in the Sydney Architecture Festival 2011, the exhibition of the sketches was held at the Boutwell Draper Gallery in Sydney from 28 October to 12 November, with an auction event on the opening night. It was extremely well attended, raising just over $14,000. The money will be delivered through Emergency Architects Australia to an aid agency operating on the ground in Japan.

Top image: Grant Amon, The Renaissance

After Images

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