Rasen Kaigan is a monumental tome of a book – a dark, visceral journey into the hallucinogenic world of Japanese photographer Lieko Shiga. Focused loosely around day-to-day activities in the Kitakama area, we’re led into a dense, kaleidoscopic frenzy. Beaches are plagued with crop circle scars. Frozen prawns become spinning Catherine wheels. Figures enter the fold in a dream-like trance. In one particularly arresting image, a woman kneels in the sand, trying to cradle a translucent, cytoplasmic gel. Twists and turns abound – the unexpected is to be thoroughly expected and nothing is beyond limits. Humdrum scenes are constantly turned into something far more sinister, either through the intensely saturated colours, piercing flash or deep, impenetrable blacks. An extended series of flash-lit rocks is mesmerically ambiguous, our sense of scale completely fractured. Shiga has created a vast, brooding, psychedelic universe with an irresistible pull.
£55 / 280pp / Mar 2013 / AKAAKA
Reviewed by James D. Clark
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