Sightseeing Japan ISightseeing Japan IISightseeing Japan III
Anyone who thinks of Japanese aesthetics may think of sublimated forms and signs that have been shaped by centuries-old traditions. Whoever thinks of Japanese architecture might think of Zen-like harmony in space and light. But also the exaggerated multicolour illuminated advertisements and the violent fantasies of the Manga comics are perhaps images that may come to your mind. However, in the perception of  Nico Bick  places like Tokyo and Osaka are ideal cities, where the perfect modern city is built without a trace of false nostalgia. The infrastructure of housing, commuting, walking and driving appears to merge seamlessly and for the chronic lack of space, uncomplicated and effective solutions are found. The fact that modern urban development attracts Nico Bick rather than rejects turned out to be already evident in his earlier work. In his photographs you will not encounter a romanticism that tries to cache all traces of modern life. In fact he enjoys pleasure at petrol stations and motorways, at new residential areas and metro stations on high stands. When he visited Japan, Nico Bick did not go to the old districts of Kyoto, but to the highly industrialised area between Tokyo and Osaka. He was not searching for something specifically Japanese, instead he sought what is common, that what can be compared to our cities.
With his presentation at Galerie Fotomania,  Nico Bick  provides every opportunity to make this comparison. Seven projectors show a multitude of images describing the city. At first glance, everything looks a lot like any modern European city. The not so attractive concrete structures that are supposed to control pedestrian flows, but also the layering of roads and public transport make me think of German cities that were given a new city centre after the Second World War. The transhipment area in front of the port could have been everywhere, and a construction site with a large bridge behind it leads to confusion because it resembles the Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam. Because the projected images in the gallery space constantly form new combinations with each other, the viewer's emphasis gradually turns to the details. In these details, differences with the European cities become visible: the Japanese custom of renewing entire blocks of houses every ten years or so means that almost no image shows a 'dated' building. Nowhere is there any sign of adornment, decoration or public works of art. The photos of Nico Bick may lead therefore to reflection on our own surroundings and an opportunity to revalue them.  Miriam Bestebreurtje – Tubelight #1