Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida: The Minimiam Universe

Akiko Ida and Pierre Javelle combine photography, magical landscapes, culinary backdrops, and portraiture to create settings inhabited by diminutive characters, referred to as minimiam. Each diptych reveals to the viewer a whimsical land that plays with our minds, as well as the subject. Akiko, Japanese, has always been attracted to the world of gastronomy. As a child, she invented tiny characters that populated her journal. She is a renowned food photographer. Akiko has participated in more than 30 cookbooks and her work is published in international magazines. Pierre, French, grew up on comics. He is published in major gourmet magazines and his still-like photographs appear in corporate commercials.

The MINIMIAM project morphs multiple genres of photography, including microphotography, culinary art, portraiture and landscape. The action, ranging from sporting scenes to warfare, takes place in carefully staged, fantastic, food settings. In each work, the first image introduces toy-like actors in an ambiguous setting. The second panel reveals the scene’s totality, to an unexpected, often amusing end. Though generally light-hearted and playful, the artists’ work intelligently probes fundamental questions of human perception, and how meaning is constructed and manipulated through images. 

Sophisticated photographic devices form the core of the artists' expression, which both entertain and unsettle the viewer. Using extremely short depths of field with very small apertures, the miniature characters are sharply in focus, while the surrounding landscapes are blurred. At the same time, their diminutive size contrasts with the gigantic surrounding space, allowing the viewer's eye to freely wander around the entire scene. Stage set lighting silhouettes the actors adding drama to the story, and intensifying the textures and colors of the edibles. Our appetite is piqued.


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