Cyalium is a mercurial collage that amalgamates pictures of nude bodies, synthetic surfaces, natural forms and portraits of East Asian youth. Mayumi Hosokura builds her multi-layered book from monochromatic photographs printed onto coloured paper, and digital black-and-white images and video-stills. In this seductive work, Hosokura explores the fluidity of the photographic medium in relation to the fluidity of gender and identity.
Like the hybrid assemblage of Cyalium, the title combines two words: ‘cyalume’ – a substance that emits light through a chemical reaction, or chemilluminescence – and ‘lium’ – the suffix often used for metal elements. Hosokura’s invented term alludes to the darkroom process in which silver compounds latent in photographic paper react to tinted light and dye couplers, or chemicals, to produce the colours of an image. Informed by the hues of this synthetic process – cyan, magenta, yellow, black, red, green and blue – Hosokura fabricates a parallel world, receptive to changes, in the pages of her luminous book.