18 Newman Street
British artist Antony Cairns continues his exploration of the global metropolis in a new exhibition at Webber Gallery; his first UK solo exhibition for over four years.
CTY_TYO3 TYO4 expands on Cairns’ fascination with urbanisation, drawing on the artist’s signature experimental processes to reveal an abstraction of the landscape. Devoid of people and mostly shot at night, Cairns’ haunting urban spaces converge to create a futuristic world that is at once both familiar and strange.
CTY_TYO3 TYO4 presents Cairns’ artworks in three different forms, drawing on the artist’s habitual use of outmoded forms of technology and more recently the repurposing of historical paper-based computer storage systems.
Constructing an archive around the ‘city’ and its myriad connotations is an important and ongoing theme in Cairns’ work, and the artist has spent much time in Japan’s two mega cities; Tokyo and Osaka. The country’s rapid technological expansion easily compliments the artist’s preferred forms of presentation, including sculptural Electronic Ink screens encapsulated in Perspex and large-scale compositional pieces constructed from computer punch cards.
Also on display are a selection from two new portfolios TY03 (2019) and TYO4 (2020). Both depicting the cityscapes of Tokyo, these works have been printed directly onto vintage Cobol coding forms and IBM decision tables, visually embedding themselves in a historic computer language. The combined result is a visual environment which questions the conceptual idea of a city and evokes a dystopian world akin to the imagination of science fiction.