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Anderson & Low: Manga Dreams    Jan 27 - Mar 5, 2011


British born photographer Jonathan Anderson and Chinese-Malaysian photographer, Edwin Low, have collaborated as the team Anderson & Low since 1990. Best known for their series Athlete/Warrior, Champions and Circus; Manga Dreams marks a departure from these previously pristine portraits and focuses on highly disciplined studio based images.

An exclusive body of work, never previously exhibited in a commercial show, Manga Dreams is a collaborative construction between the subjects and photographers in which numerous layers of interpretations, translations, exchanges, reproductions and visual executions are involved. Subjects tailor their look to that of manga, tamed hair and costume, whilst performing for the photographers – and the photographers dress, groom and photograph their subjects. Manga, stemming originally from Asia, means ‘cartoon’ and within the context of this exhibition connects street youth and visual cyber culture with contemporary art. The influence of street culture is well recognised in modern art, take Lichtenstein, Warhol and Basquiat for example; and Manga Dreams can be seen as a continuation of this genre, drawing on an Eastern paradigm and applying it to portraiture whilst exploring a visual hybrid of photography, graphics, digital painting and calligraphy.

Anderson & Low embrace both digital technology and postproduction to enable the addition of montage layers to this visually exuberant body of work, thus creating a world that no longer feels entirely like our own. The underlying current within this project speaks of familiar themes throughout their work; identity and the projection of identity through appearance. The subjects project identities with their distinct appearance and are, in a sense, living their dreams; Manga Dreams.

‘Navigating back and forth between these parallel worlds has altered our perception, we are left with a question we can no longer answer: these dreams we have documented, are they the manga-inspired dreams of humans or the human-inspired dreams of manga? Is this art imitating life, or life imitating art?’ Anderson & Low.

Manga Dreams, a monograph of this project, was produced in 2010, published by Lucky Panda Press and has a foreword by Yasufumi Nakamori, the Assistant Curator of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Anderson & Low have been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions around the world. Selected examples of Manga Dreams currently reside in a group show at the National Gallery of Australia and a further exhibition of Manga Dreams will take place at Maison Européene de la Photographie, Paris in 2012. Their work can also be found in public and private collections including Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Museum of Fine Art, Houston; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; National Portrait Gallery, London; National Portrait Gallery, Australia; Worcester Museum, US Olympic Centre and Museet Fotokunst, Denmark amongst others.

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