Tsunehisa Kimura

Tsunehisa Kimura

Work from Visual Scandals.

“The artist—who passed away in 2008—was well-known for his startlingly realistic collages of urban scenes, often animated with a kind of end-of-the-world, scifi-inflected festivity. Impact craters in the centers of wrecked cities share chaotic page space with Dalí-esque visions of giant human breasts in the sky.

Waterfalls scour sublime new cliffsides from the architectural canyons of Manhattan; modern tower blocks pitch and yaw atop aircraft carriers at sea; battleship gun turrets are cloned and repeated into Baroque stupas—cathedrals of artillery—along the empty roads of agrarian landscapes. For my money, these latter structures outdo Hans Hollein’sAircraft Carrier City in Landscape, with which they nonetheless share a certain tectonic similarity.

Gunnery pagodas and blasted metropolitan cores meet surreal scenes of burning astronauts on the moon, while the neon lights of artificial volcanoes melt nameless city districts under radiative tides of surprise eruption. Apollo rockets are unearthed from Mesopotamian tombs in the shadow of Stone Age petroleum tanks. Tatlin’s Tower stands proud in a junkyard, stuffed full of broken TVs. The Woolworth Building wakes up to find itself at the bottom of a cave, and there are construction sites everywhere.

However, these are not the explicitly psychedelic photo-collages of someone like, say,James Koehnline, in which machine-mandalas and nude fakirs intermix with jungle leaves inside heavily tiled cosmic temples. They are more like diagnostic slices taken through a militarized imagination formed in the context of post-War Japan.

In some ways, in fact, I’m reminded of an interview with Paul Virilio—which I also read here at the CCA—published in AA Files a few years back. There, Virilio quips that “The Second World War was my university,” and he goes on to describe the various ways in which abandoned military fortifications and the total annihilation of once-thriving cities affected his ideas of what architecture should be.

Tsunehisa Kimura’s “visual scandals,” I’d suggest, bring together a similarly rogue education—star pupils in a university of war—with a Ballardian afterglow, a nuclear flash from the Pacific Rim, delivering images of cities that escaped erasure by American bombs only to be buried under electronic goods of Japan’s own making, sometimes literally faceless citizens staggering through landscapes no one ever thought the last century would bring.” – via BLDGBLOG

Comments are closed.