There is an expression that the SHIMURAbros, the Berlin based sister/brother duo of Yuka and Kentaro, often use in our conversations: “Film is the catalyst for our creations. Through film, we familiarise ourselves with the equilibrium between light and matter, and through filming we convert light to a substance of that name”. In a continuous oscillation between the material/sculptural and immaterial/dreamlike, the duo has developed a body of work during the last decade that reconsiders imaging devices in the context of the history of filmmaking. For example the critically acclaimed work X-Ray Train (2007), which was inspired by the famous Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (1895) by the Lumière brothers, two of history’s first filmmakers, in which they project CT scans of a locomotive onto a series of 12 liquid crystal film screens so the advancing mass of light can be observed from any angle – resulting not only in an unprecedented filmic experiment, but one where dimensions are returned to film as it simultaneously disintegrates. The duo’s reference to films past leads one to inquire about the treatment of the object in contemporary practice and the sort of relationships artists develop with history: both as an evolving site for engaging with the past and for developing gestures/ ruptures in the present – images and spaces be- come entangled, a ‘creative geography’, to echo Lev Kuleshov, ensues.
Yuka Shimura and Kentaro Shimura are based in Berlin and Tokyo. Their work was recently shown at CCS Bard, Annandale-on-Hudson, and NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore.