Benrubi Gallery is pleased to present Tokyo, a solo exhibition of photographs by Matthew Pillsbury. The exhibition will open on Wednesday, September 10, 2014, and will be on view through Saturday, October 25, 2014. Tokyo will be Matthew Pillsbury's fifth exhibition with the gallery.
For over a decade, Pillsbury has made long exposure photographs using only available light. Across several series and in many cities, he has focused on the passage of time and people within spaces both public and private. His work has addressed the growing role that technology is playing in our lives and the sense of modern seclusion that can seem at odds with the constant connectivity being offered by our smartphones and tablets.
Millions of people file through the streets and subways of Tokyo - the world's most populous megalopolis - and yet it is often done silently, with each person quietly interacting with their gadgets. That disconnect is at the very heart of so much of our modern existence and deeply imbedded within Pillsbury's oeuvre.
Technology use, as it has in much of the world, has increased exponentially in Tokyo, latching itself onto everything from modern-day cell phone-obsessed geisha women to the ultra-hip neighborhood of Shinjuku, where themed clubs and bars now include high-tech robotics as a featured part of the entertainment. Expecting to encounter the kinetic energy depicted in the William Klein and Andreas Gursky photographs of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Pillsbury arrived to discover that the once buzzing trading floor is now run in almost unnerving stillness by computers. While the temples are still revered and deeply respected places of worship, pop culture and rebellion amongst Western-obsessed Japanese youth have crept irreversibly in, forcing sacred and traditional sites to share cultural importance with modern Manga robots and Disney castles.
To capture this shifting energy and some of the surreal scenes he encountered, Pillsbury has started making color photographs and using much shorter exposures. Pillsbury moves freely within the vibrant pockets of buzzing Tokyo allowing him to contend with what for him has been a career long fascination with technology, alienation and who we are becoming armed with our electronic tools.
Matthew Pillsbury (born in Neuilly, France, 1973) received his B.A. (Cum laude with distinction) in 1995 from Yale University. In 2004 he received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. His work in diverse media has been exhibited in museums in the United States and Europe and is included in numerous private and public collections. A selection of public collections includes the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Guggenheim Museum, New York, Musee du Louvre, Paris, Fondation HSBC pour la Photographie, Paris, The Tate Modern, London, The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, The Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. He is the recipient of the 2014 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and the 2007 Fondation HSBC prix pour la Photographie. He currently resides in New York City.