Alicja Dobrucka

Untitled #1, Nico series, 2016/2020


41 x 51 cm

Edition of 5 + 1 AP, number 1 of 5


As part of Alicja Dobrucka’s Tokyo city photography series, Nico, we see a world illuminated by night-time. Enigmatic portraits depict a transformed banal cityscape. Through these images, the artist grants access to the streets of Tokyo. This occurs through Dobrucka’s voyeuristic but involved lens. Dobrucka’s exploration of the east side of the city and it’s night-life during her 2016 Tokyo Wondersite residency stirred an interest in taking portraits of both its inhabitants and abandoned streets at night.

Alicia’s work recalls the writings of Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, particularly his essay on aesthetics, ‘In Praise of Shadows’. In this example, Tanizaki declares that there is ‘no beauty without shadows’. Importantly, in her photographs of these Tokyo nights, Alicja creates a visual treatise demonstrating this.
In this city photography, the glowing buildings illustrate a city not abandoned but lethargic in the evening’s dusk light. Importantly, Alicia captures the images on a large format camera. This slow, analogue process therefore allows for a considered image of eery streets alive with ethereality and mystery.