Japanese photographer Daisuke Yokota is to hold his first solo show in London at Roman Road gallery in Hackney. Opening on 28 September, Emergence features three major projects by Yokota, all of which showcase his experimental technique that involves obsessively rephotographing images numerous times before treating the prints with acid or even burning them.
The rising star shot to prominence last year after winning the Foam Paul Huf Award, a €20,000 prize awarded to photographers under 35. His work is defined by its dark, ethereal aesthetic that sits somewhere between an erotic dream and a horror film.
The first of Yokota’s work exhibited at Roman Road is an experimental camera-less piece that explores chemical reactions that occur when exposing photographic emulsions. For the piece Yokota bulk-bought light-sensitive colloids in an online auction before smothering them on photographic papers and exposing them to light.
The second is a video piece based on the process behind his 2016 work Matter/Vomit. Having filmed the making of the artwork, Yokota copied the digital film onto videotape before re-digitising the footage. The grainy degradation of the image – alongside the additional noise the film picked up – echoes the repeated copying, printing and scanning of Yokota’s still photography.
The third piece, called Taratine, is a slight departure from Yokota’s normal output. Here the photographer presents 53 intimate portraits of his mother and girlfriend with a somewhat softer approach. The title of the work stems from the name of an ancient ginkgo tree worshiped by women in northern Japan for its fertility-giving properties.
Yokota’s work is often likened to that of avant-garde photographer Daido Moriyama and other Japanese image-makers that contributed to radical 1960s magazine Provoke. Work by the creatives behind the magazine, which was instrumental in capturing Japanese post-war counter culture, is often described as ‘are-byre-boke’, or rough, blurred and out of focus – an aesthetic that Yokota also shares.