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