Alsatian Kidd is perhaps best known as a region landscaper; his Green Acres Homestead region has been a regular destination for me for several years, as reported in these pages, and he also provides services to those who would like their regions and parcels landscaped. But in addition to this, he is also an accomplished photographer, as indicated by his Flickr stream and – for the next couple of weeks – through an exhibition within the Sky Gallery at Monocle Man Galleries, the arts centre operated by Lynx Luga and Kit Boyd.
I often talk about art in terms of the narrative and the story it contains; be it within an individual image and / or through the the overall theme for an exhibition. Sometimes the narrative is offered through the image itself, sometimes through the title it has been given, and sometimes the mix of title and subject. With Nihongo-Ka – which translates best as “turning Japanese” – Alsatian offer a 4-chapter series of images which – thanks to the accompanying word panels – offer a story of one man’s travels through feudal Japan and the adventures / trials he faces.
Starting on the ground floor hall immediately on the right of the entry hall, the story unfolds in a clockwise direction through all four halls of the gallery space. In the first hall, we are introduced to the protagonist – Rokudenashi – and his white wolf, whilst setting the scene for his travels. From here, each chapter takes us, hall by hall, through the pair’s journey, at times introducing us to companions who might aid them, or those who might try to thwart them in achieving their goal.
Within each hall, the chapters (presented as scrolls with illustrations from both classical Japanese art and also captured from within Second Life) are mounted with images created by Alsatian that more fully illustrate the unfolding tale. Taken at Japanese-themed locations in Second Life, the images present elements of each chapter in a clear-cut manner with a light touch of post-processing that gives each image as sense of being illustrative to the story without dropping them into the realm of comic / graphic novel, instead leaving each as a piece that can be appreciated in its own right as well as in being part o the unfolding story.
As well as offering the final chapter of the story, the fourth hall of the exhibition space also presents what might have initially served as the inspiration for this artistic tale – the lyrics from Turning Japanese, the single by British New Wave band The Vapors. Released on the group’s first album, New Clear Days, the song reached number 3 in the UK singles chart in 1980 and remains popular with fans since the band re-formed in 2016.
A simple but engaging artistic tale, Nihongo-Ka will remain open to the public through until the end of October 30th, 2022. And Star Trek fans might what to keep an eye open for the subtle reference to the original series tucked away within one of the panels!
- Monocle Man Sky Gallery (Flying Fortress, rated Adult)