• PHOTOBOOK OF THE YEAR

    Book signings

    Emi Anrakuji
    Balloon Position 
    AKAAKA Art Publishing
    Kyoto, 2019
     
    “I can’t explain this photo book, no matter which language I adopt,” reads the only text to appear in Emi Anrakuji’s monograph, Balloon Position. This softcover book is a facsimile of the artist’s handmade dummy, printed on very rough, uncoated paper that evokes the look and feel of distressed Xerox copies. The images themselves are just as raw, made in response to the artist’s struggle with a brain tumor and the loss of sight in one eye. The photographs are often unfocused and disorienting—a contemporary riff on the Provoke era’s visual syntax. The hint of a narrative thread is conveyed via the intermittent appearance of one or more white balloons (and other spherical shapes, like polka dots, bowling balls, and ping-pong balls). Other images depict fragmentary cityscapes, double exposures of plants and patterns, a close-up of a pin pressed into the skin of a balloon, tense and close to bursting. “It’s a powerful, lyrical book that immerses you in a very personal and tumultuous space,” concludes Lesley A. Martin