Video artist Akira Kojima was born in Tokyo in 1956, in a period when Japan’s economy was just beginning to blossom. Kojima spent his childhood in a suburb of Tokyo where houses were still sparse, and became interested in photography when he was in high school. At the time, radical photographers like Daido Moriyama and Nobuyoshi Araki were garnering attention within the Japanese photography scene, for their work that captured the 1970s zeitgeist. Their work opened Kojima’s eyes to photography’s potential to be both “cool” and artistic, leading him to enroll at a photography school. Kojima worked as a fashion photographer’s assistant while still a student; then in his mid-twenties, he began to take on work for women’s magazines as a freelance cameraman.
Photography depended on reversal film at the time, so photographers did not know how their pictures turned out until they were developed. Working under this continual anxiety seems to have been stressful for Kojima, who was a worrier by nature. That was when he discovered video, which was just beginning to become widespread. This new medium, which allowed the artist to see the results straightaway, was perfect for Kojima. He began working as a freelance video editor, and eventually became a director. In 1988, an unexpected opportunity landed him a job as a producer at a video production company, and there he worked producing videos for the next 28 years. Although he was involved with videos of all genres, he became strongly drawn by art, from his experience producing video works for exhibitions at museums. Then he reached a turning point: the Still/Motion: Liquid Crystal Painting exhibition held at the Mie Prefectural Art Museum in 2008. The exhibits, produced by artists in the forefront of art in Japan and overseas, were all displayed on LCD monitors. Kojima was in charge of animating works by the Japanese-style painter Hiroshi Senju, which were displayed on eight 70-inch portrait LCD monitors that were arranged like traditional folding screens. Later, Kojima would take all manners of inspiration from Senju’s work for his own creations. Seeing video works by many overseas artists at the Liquid Crystal Painting exhibition, Kojima says that he felt intuitively that this was the path that he needed to follow. As the technical side was not an issue, he embarked on his artistic practice and the process of trial and error. Debuting with a modest exhibition in 2008, and a few solo exhibitions, his current conception of visual expression was presented at the Banish the Rainclouds and Show Us the Light exhibition, which was held at the Galerie Omotesando in Tokyo in 2013. His new work, which dramatically differed from his early works that used photographs as material, was composed of shot and edited video footage. The 13-minute video, which used long shots and no sound, was displayed on one entire side of the gallery’s white cube. It evoked different images in each viewer, and inspired quiet interest.
< Exhibition >
2008 Ju-Byo Saiga (10-second slideshow movies, consisting of landscape photography) (Cafe Toto, Tokyo)
2010 Ju-Byo Saiga 2010 (Galerie Omotesando, Tokyo)
2011 Tokyo Botanical (Galerie Omotesando, Tokyo)
2013 Banish the Rainclouds and Show Us the Light (Galerie Omotesando, Tokyo)
2015 Banish the Rainclouds and Show Us the Light II (Galerie Omotesando, Tokyo)
2017 The Essence of Wind (Galerie Omotesando, Tokyo)