Friday, 13 September 2013

JapanCanal Dreams: David Blandy Anjin 1600

A walk along the Regent's Canal in post-work rush hour, under the wet brick bridges almost flattened by aggro cyclists, past the back of new-builds, pubs for prats and still-standing horror estates then back to street level to find the Rose Lipman Building, improbable home for David Blandy's new exhibition Anjin 1600: Edo Wonderpark (even more improbably sponsored by Deutsche Bank, among others).

The centerpiece is Blandy's film about his own relationship with Japan, his lifelong fascination with its aesthetics and culture, which plays at the back of a large, dark, tranquil 'Japanese' garden (built by Rhino Rock of East Peckham). Surrounding this are a number of other installation pieces which allude to the same themes: cultural appropriation, video games, anime, control (embodied in AAS's majestic sci-fi control panel of oscilloscopes and mysterious buttons).

The installation is slick and atmospheric, and communicates Blandy's genuine feel for this culture: in  its otherness, but also its familiarity for those of us who've grown up with arcade games and manga. I'd like to watch the film again at a quieter time, so may be braving the streets of De Beauvoir Town again in the near future. 

Anjin 1600: Edo Wonderpark is at the Rose Lipman Building, 43 De Beauvoir Road, N1 5SQ. 13th September - 26th October 2013, Wed-Sat 12-6pm. Late night opening Thursday 3rd October, til 9pm. There are also talks and workshops accompanying the exhibition, see website for details.

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