Meg Hewitt: Tokyo is Yours

through 27 January 2024 // CHAUSSEE 36 PHOTO FOUNDATION, Berlin

CHAUSSEE 36 Photo Foundation is thrilled to present the solo exhibition “Tokyo is Yours” by the Australian photographer Meg Hewitt, featuring the artist’s work for the first time in Germany.
Meg Hewitt, born in 1973 in Sydney, Australia, studied sculpture, painting and media. Since 2010 she has dedicated herself to photography.

“Tokyo is Yours“ is a black-and-white series that came into being between 2015 and 2017 during her travels through Tokyo. The cycle shows Hewitt’s deep reflection on Japan and the uncertainties and fragility that followed after the catastrophe in Fukushima. The ecological disaster of 2011 almost led to the evacuation of Tokyo, a city with more than 13 million residents. The title “Tokyo is yours” derives from a graffiti that had been written on the city wall. The photographer finds her inspiration in manga and movies. It is life in the streets of Tokyo that particularly interest her.

The scenes which Meg Hewitt embeds in her film have movie-like qualities. People converge, and odd situations appear and fade away again. Meg had travelled to Japan seven times between 2015 and 2017. Every day she would walk through the city for twelve hours, taking strolls through parks, stopping by at night bars and the animal park, and traveling to Fukushima or visiting the seafront. She captured the small details that spontaneously caught her interest and eternalized the habitants she encountered. The fact that she can neither speak and read Japanese, nor understand conversations, gave her a feeling of absolute freedom and creativity. The people she met and the scenes she attended were transformed into symbols, archetypes, and metaphors. The photographer Daido Moriyama, whose work Meg Hewitt considers a source of inspiration, describes her photographs as “dangerous”.

With her photos, Meg Hewitt explores the space between memories, interhuman relations, and fear. She often photographs at night with flash, through which she can isolate her subject from any context. The utilization of silver film puts an emphasis on the contrasting black tones during the development of the films. Through her special aesthetic, which creates an ominous compression of space, the photographs evoke a feeling of psychological pressure.

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