With the new exhibit, “Bricolage,” the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery is currently showcasing twelve large-format “Diorama Maps” of cities around the world, including New York, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Havana, Shanghai, Amsterdam, Istanbul, San Francisco and New Delhi. The intricately detailed maps were created by the artist Sohei Nishino. Nishino’s creations are interpretation of the places he visits and the people he interacts with on the street.

He immerses himself in a particular city, spending between two and three months, walking the streets, end to end, while taking thousand of photographs along the way. Without the use of a notepad, he relies only on his camera and memory. His diorama’s include people standing in doorways, sitting at outdoor tables, on bikes, in cars, along with historic sites, and iconic buildings. Unlike a typical road map, he attempts to capture each city’s soul, and commit it to paper. After processing the photos, Nishino pieces them together like a mosaic, as the city was seen through his eyes.

Standing before his work, Nishino encourages the viewer to take a look at their own city through a different lens. Not as a grid map, but in the personal ways that make a city feel like home. The diorama maps are presented in a variety of sizes and shapes, some as large as 6 x 7 feet. Below are a few of the diorama maps in the exhibit, Sohei Nishino: Bricolage, currently on view at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery.

Havana & Rio Sohei Nishino Untapped Cities AFineLyneDiorama Maps of Rio de Janeiro (left) and Havana (right)

Havana by Nishino Diorama AFineLyne Untapped CitiesClose-up of Diorama Map of Havana

Malecon Havana Nishino Diorama Untapped Cities AFineLyneClose-up of Diorama Map, Havana, Cuba

Sohei Nishino first became interested in this art form while in high school, when – with a sleeping bag and his mother’s camera, and inspired by Japan’s first map-maker, Ino Tadataka, he went on a journey, walking several miles each day, documenting and photographing along the way. He began constructing his dioramas after graduating from Osaka University of the Arts in 2004. Nishino shoots with film, feeling it is well suited to his project, and has completed twenty diorama maps to date. Eleven of these are currently on view in the exhibit Sohei Nishino: Bricolage, to March 4, 2017 at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, 505 West 24th Street in Chelsea.

In addition, he currently has a solo exhibit entitled New York at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through February 26, 2017.


Creation of Diorama Map of San Francisco, 2016 

While in Chelsea, explore The High Line with our guide to its secrets, or check out the Muhammad Ali photo exhibit at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. You can contact the author at AFineLyne.