In 1984 a limited edition book by David Sylvian of polaroid collages was published entitled Perspectives. This was released to coincide with the London exhibition, which was then staged in Tokyo, Milan, and Turin.
It’s a very beautiful and rare book containing colour prints of his collages featuring many famous persons as subject of those collages like Steve Jansen, Holger Czukay, Yuka Fujii and Angus McBean.
From the dust-jacket:
‘The moment the light from the viewer illuminated the slide that had arrived from London, I was reminded of ‘Despair’, one of David Sylvian’s songs written for JAPAN. I was also reminded of some words of Egon Schiele, the painter contemporary of Erik Satie, Satie being a sort of inspiration to David to compose this music so vividly encapsulated by its title. Schiele wrote of his desire to paint the melancholy of autumn that he felt in the height of summer.
Since first meeting David in 1980, I have been continually captivated and entertained by his extremely developed aesthetic sense, and a certain peculiar perversity that extends upon it. I am delighted that he has decided to add photography to his music as a new mode of expression.
This collage of Polaroid photographs is without doubt the expression of Sylvian’s aestheticism, and their distorted charm and magical depth capture the imagination immediately, by-passing critical rationality.
The great surrealist André Breton once made a prophetic remark about the invention of the camera dealing a fatal blow to conventional methods of expression, forcing artists to deviate from mere reproduction.
‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’. the title of a JAPAN album released in the autumn of 1980, seems to me to have been equally prophetic.
This first collection of photographs by David Sylvian has a resoluteness which goes far beyond the mere portrayal of people and places. It is the first tangible representation of a rare sensitivity and power of concentration that has been in evidence ever since his days with JAPAN.
There are many artists in the field of music who take photographs, but it is these qualities which set Sylvian apart from them. And these are the qualities which make me see David Sylvian as a man of unlimited possibilities.
NAOKI TACHIKAWA has been a well respected art critic in Japan since the early seventies, and has been responsible for co-ordinating and producing exhibitions, live performances and recordings, for both Japanese and Western artists.’
Some copies of the book came signed, and some with a signed ‘Red Guitar’ postcard.
It was while his photographs were on show in Tokyo that Sylvian was asked to make a 140 minute documentary video, to be loosely based on the exhibition, and his involvement with art and music in general. So he devised, directed and wrote most of the music for what was subsequently released in Japan as Preparations For A Journey.
At the end of 1985, a deluxe edition of Perspectives was published in Japan by Sakamoto’s Hon Hondo Publishing Company.
Read here all about the Japanese Perspectives book.