Capturing Tokyo's Underground Essence: Polaroid x Steffen Grap's "ISSE NO SE" Exhibition

Instant artistry reveals Japan's subculture's raw beauty.


In a world obsessed with the fleeting and the ephemeral, Polaroid remains an enduring symbol of nostalgia and creativity. It's that magic of instant photography, the snap of a shutter, and the whir of a film emerging that has captivated generations. And now, in a collaboration, Polaroid has joined forces with Berlin-born artist Steffen Grap to unveil "ISSE NO SE" – a glimpse into the beating heart of Tokyo's underground scene, immortalized through the lens of the Polaroid I-2.

The exhibition's title, "ISSE NO SE," carries a profound meaning, signifying "voices in unison" in Japanese. Steffen Grap, a pioneering force in today's subculture, provides an exclusive portal into Tokyo's vibrant underground life. Through the delicate medium of Polaroid, he captures the essence of the city, revealing its raw, unfiltered beauty.

At the heart of "ISSE NO SE" lies the theme of "Wabi-Sabi: Wisdom in Imperfection." Steffen Grap's work is a reflection of his personal expectations of Tokyo, carefully juxtaposed with the city's gritty, authentic reality. The collection encompasses a diverse range of Polaroid photographs that showcase Tokyo's multifaceted subculture – from the thrills of skateboarding to the candid moments of street photography, the stark beauty of architecture, and the intimate allure of portraits. All this is wrapped in Steffen's unique signature collages and mashups, a visual feast for the senses.

"ISSE NO SE" is open to the public from September 7th, 2023, at Berlin's SAFE SPACE on Torstraße 26. It offers an intimate window into Steffen Grap's creative universe, all through the enchanting lens of Polaroid. The exhibition features a carefully curated selection of nine distinctive artworks. These include previously unseen Polaroid images captured with the I-2, perfectly complemented by Steffen's original artworks, an immersive installation, and even exclusive apparel.

To sweeten the deal further, the vernissage of this exhibition is supported by ASAHI SUPER DRY 辛口, adding a touch of Japanese flair to the experience.

The Polaroid I-2 camera used in this collaboration is a true gem. It merges the timeless charm of traditional analog photography with the sophistication of modern camera technology. With its razor-sharp lens and built-in manual controls, the I-2 ensures every shot is a masterpiece, enriching the instant photography experience.

But that's not all – "ISSE NO SE" is a multi-dimensional sensory journey. In addition to the captivating visuals, the exhibition also boasts a 9-minute film directed by Sergio Ben Mario. This film adds an extra layer to the visual narrative, immersing visitors even further into the world of Tokyo's subculture.

In a world where most of our memories are stored in the cloud or buried in the depths of our smartphones, Polaroid's enduring appeal and Steffen Grap's keen eye for capturing the essence of Tokyo's underground subculture offer a refreshing departure. Don't miss this chance to delve deep into Tokyo's underground soul and witness "voices in unison" through the magic of Polaroid and Steffen Grap's art.

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