Japan Graphics 2 Tomoko Sakamoto
          Review by Mario Cipresso

        • Japan Graphics 2 (or JPG2) is a handsomely produced survey of contemporary graphic design in Japan over the last four years. The general collection of work has a very urban character. It is apparent that many of the designers choose to interpret the world around them while others tend to re-create the world through their work. The juxtapositions are quite strong with works of pure fantasy nicely complementing or contradicting super-real representations.

          The work spans a variety of concepts and is typically depicted as a 2D work complemented by photos showing the work in its original installed configuration, whether in a gallery or on an athletic shoe. Concepts such as 'Imaginary Landscapes', 'Talking Graphics', 'Portait', 'Fake Analog' and 'Digital/Manual Interaction' are represented through the work of twenty-one Japanese designers with few tending to specialize in any one category. The overlaps are interesting, with common threads apparent across the various topics.

          The techniques are as varied as the concepts with an obvious slant towards digital processes. Work that appears manually-created is oftentimes done so digitally. In this context, the manual creation acquires somewhat of a special quality. This translates directly to the actual book itself. The cover has a raised plaque that appears to be laser cut wood, although upon closer examination I began to question that. The machine-produced pattern over the grain almost lends a plastic feel to the piece. So which is it? The world may never know.


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