by Rica Cerbarano
Japanese artist living between Italy and Slovenia, on his Instagram profile Kensuke Koike defines himself as an “alchemist”. Although not able to transform metals into gold, what he does is actually surprising: starting from vintage photographs that he finds in flea markets or in abandoned archives, Kensuke makes completely new images, cutting, overlapping, and overturning pieces of photos that fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Nothing new under the sun, you might say. It is called collage and is a technique almost as old as photography. True. But Kensuke doesn’t just simply cut and paste: with the meticulous precision of a surgeon he cuts the surface of the image using a tool similar to a scalpel, irretrievably acting on a unique specimen (either vintage print or postcard). Faces without a name acquire a character and totally unknown subjects, without an identity, are suddenly protagonists.
At the base of his intervention there is a precise rule: nothing is added and nothing is removed. The image is all there, fragmented but present. Through his engraving operation, Kensuke dismembers the image down in several levels that move through time and space: from flat representation, the photograph acquires volume and three-dimensionality, redefining the codes that characterize it.
Kensuke plays with the image and does it in a provocative and irreverent manner, challenging the sacredness of the photographic print, of the portrait as an inviolable effigy that preserves the essence of a person, thus activating a reflection on the manipulation of the imaginary.
With the eccentricity of an alchemist and the precision of a surgeon, Kensuke approaches photography in an ironic and concrete way, showing that nobody is ever too grown up to stop playing.
Kensuke Koike regularly publishes his work on Instagram. We recommend you follow his accounts @kensukekoike @single_image_processing @todayscuriosity
For video credits: © Kensuke Koike (all taken from the instagram)
March 6, 2019