BETTINA LOCKEMANN | Contact Zone
Opening: Friday, 22 February 2008, 7 p.m.
Exhibition: 23 February - 29 March 2008
The piece Contact Zone has been photographed in 2006 on the occasion of a three months residency in Japan. It is presented publicly for the first time here at Loris. The term ‘contact zone’ describes a territory where foreign cultures meet each other. The piece traces European influences in Japan. Lockemann’s unobtrusive black and white photography finds Japan beyond established exoticism where the cultural Other is encountered in a surprisingly unspectacular way.
Contact Zone develops along various parameters of Western influences in Japan. These are partially presented by locations within the cityscape; but there are also sites included whose conjunctions to Europe may not explicitly show. Those who expect to encounter the unbroken Other in Japan will sometimes be surprised by the many squares, buildings, or organizations influencing everyday life, that – despite major destructions from earthquakes or the world war – attest to the long-lasting contact and integration of European culture and ideas in the Far East: Prussian looking representative architecture perfectly harmonizes with the cityscape; university structures resemble their English archetypes since more than hundred years; Japanese promenade through quarters with Western wooden houses. It becomes clear that in Japanese present the different influences have merged into a sensible unity.
Visual language and monochrome black and white of Lockemann’s large photographic series show – for European eyes – a rather unknown Japan. The photographs leave aside the shrill contrast between rapid progress, cultivated traditions, and the ubiquitously staged postmodern urbanity. In comparison to these standard motifs the images of Contact Zoneseem to be rather unwieldy. Lockemann understands this also as a challenge to the viewers to discover foreign, but everyday Japan.