SHIMURABROS. “Film Without Film”

Dates: 24 Sep – 30 Oct, 2010
Opening reception: Friday, 24 Sep, 18:00 – 20:00
Artist talk: Saturday, 25 Sep, 16:00 – 17:00 (reservation is not required)


Taka Ishii Gallery, Kyoto is pleased to announce our solo exhibition with SHIMURABROS. from Friday, 24 September to Saturday, 30 October.

Thanks to digital technology, their signature is resolutely modern in form; its probing nature will one-day earn them their niche in the history of images.

(Chihiro Minato, The Approaching X-Ray Train, BankART Bank under 35 SHIMURABROS. exhibition catalogue)

SHIMURABROS. are a sister and brother artist duo consisting of Yuka (born 1976) and Kentaro (born 1979). For this exhibition they will be presenting a combination of three series of works; their representative film installation work ‘X-ray train’, as well as two new works created for this exhibition, ‘Film Without Film’ and ‘Nihombashi.’

‘X-ray Train’ is a film piece which deeply connects itself with the moment of the birth of film within the turn of the 19th century. The steam locomotive arriving at the station, is a famous scene from L’Arrivée d’un Train en Gare de La Ciotat (English title: The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station) directed and produced by the Lumière brothers. Legend has it that at the world’s first film screening held in Paris in 1895, the audience whom at the time were not accustomed to the moving image; having witnessed the film by the Lumière brothers fell under the illusion that the train in fact was, approaching towards them, as a result causing a startled panic. Through this work SHIMURABROS. considers the ‘Visual (film) media and its relationship to reality’ –an essential question discussed since the birth of film, and revisits it within 21st century contemporary society; exploring the possibilities of creating a film expression which is comparable to the amazement of witnessing the moving image for the first time.
In the catalogue produced for the exhibition, BankART Bank under 35 SHIMURABROS. (Yokohama, 2008) Chihiro Minato states an intriguing discussion considering the relationship between the Lumière brothers and SHIMURABROS.
At the Lumière Brothers’ screening, the audience faced a single screen from one particular direction, whereas in X-ray Train the SHIMURABROS. employ multiple screens to emit images at fixed time intervals. The audience can thus view the screen from whatever angle they choose. In other words, the audience have the possibility to view the moving images like a sculpture in three-dimensional space.

‘X-ray train,’ the image of a steam locomotive filmed with the application of front line medical CT scan technology, runs through 12 computer controlled screens. The work as an unknown imaging apparatus, moreover as a ‘sculpture placed within a 3-dimensional space’ is a piece which explores the emerging possibility for a new form of expression within the history of film.

Their latest work, ‘Film Without Film’ bases its subject upon a pioneering experiment at the forefront of 1920s Soviet (Russian) born montage theory, the Kuleshov Effect –an experiment which greatly influenced succeeding generations. At a time when there was a shortage of film available for feature length production, Lev Kuleshov used no more than 90 meters of film, resulting in the creation of a legendary experiment within the film historical canon –the ‘Film Without Film’

  1. A young man walks from left to right.
  2. A young woman walks from right to left.
  3. The two meet and hold hands.
    The young man with his hand, indicates a point within the space.
  4. A large white building with broad steps is shown.
  5. The two figures ascend the steps.

With this experiment in addition to the traditional form of single-shot film expression, the technique of combining multiple shots based upon the new ideology of the Montage (editing) was discovered, causing a revolution within the world of film. Unfortunately the original films used for the experiment have not been found, yet SHIMURABROS. have re-enacted Kuleshov’s experiment by choosing notable films from the history of Kyoto filmography, cutting out sections of public domain film. Next, through the unique method of data processing the replicated footage, the image is given 3 dimensional form. Applying the use of the latest 3D printer technology, they attempts figuration in order to attain the idea of ‘transforming the light from film to a 3 dimensional material’ (ordinarily 3D printers are used to create 3D models through a process of layering forms based upon 3 dimensional CAD/CG data however, this is its first example of use within the field of contemporary art, attempting at a breakthrough technique.)
Ultimately, the scenes of Kyoto through 3D printing and the Kuleshov effect, as though miniatures, are figurized with a sensitive precision; presenting a series of works which have transformed themselves into aesthetic steel objects.

SHIMURABROS. ‘SEKILALA’ is currently in the Screen Space at PICA (Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Australia) from 11 September–24 October, 2010