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What will photography look like in the next century? And cities and the urban environment? The exhibition New Planet Photo City – William Klein and Photographers Living in the 22nd Century, held at 21_21 Design Sight in Tokyo and curated by Toshiharu Ito, will explore this theme through the artworks of twelve contemporary artists/photographers from February 23 to June 10.

It’s been more than a century since photography was invented, and during all these years the medium has experimented drastic changes. And since the Japanese are famous for its passion for both millenary traditions and cutting-edge technology, we couldn’t think of a better place to explore how has photography evolved but, more importantly, how will it continue to do so in the 22nd century.

The starting point of the exhibition is William Klein, the renowned 20th-century photographer who captured the essence, fashion, and characters found on cities such as Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, Rome and New York. He’s had a huge influence on the medium, and his way of seeing the world behind the lens turned him into an icon. As Toshiharu Ito, the exhibition curator, says, “If we retrace the footsteps of Klein, we understand that his trajectory was an enormous testing ground for images. He repeatedly carried out a variety of visual experiments, including the early development of blurred, out-of-focus and rough images, dramatic new combinations of typography and images, collages that bring to the surface the unfathomed power of cities.”

But the American artist is the starting point. From here, Ito has selected a handful of contemporary Asian and Japanese photographers who try “to examine the cities and people of the 21st century with a fresh perspective and greatly transcend the frames of conventional photos”. With them, the exhibition “attempts to depict the heartbeat of the future photo cities toward the 22nd century”. Among the many exhibited, we must highlight the impressive works by Sachigusa Yasuda, Yuki Tawada, Satoshi Fujiwara, Park Mina, and Shen Chao-Liang. Nevertheless, it’d be hard not to mention all of them, since their pioneering techniques and depictions of today’s world do give us the impression of living in a more advanced time.
New Planet Photo City will inaugurate on February 23 and will be on view until June 10 at 21_21 Design Sight, 9-7-6 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo.

Arnau Salvadó

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