8 maîtres japonais
Da-End Gallery is showing ‘Nippon-ismes an exhibition which brings together eight photographers from different generations whose works, from either a journalistic or visual approach to the medium, all question contemporary Japanese identity and culture.
The theme of the Japanese city, the urban sprawl and its tentacle like extension into the landscape is one of the guiding themes of the exhibition which joins together the artists Daido Moriyama (born in 1938), Toshio Shibata (born in 1949) and Kyochi Tsuzuki (born in 1956).
Daido Moriyama is a veritable living legend and founder of the group ‘Provoke’ which revolutionised the photographic language in the 1960s with an aesthetic summarised by the succinct phrase ‘Grainy! Shaky! Blurry!’. The photographer focuses on urban Tokyo, more specifically on Shinjuku, an area in which he has lived for the past forty years and of which the gallery is exhibiting (from the series at the origin of the book ‘Shinjuku 19XX-20XX’) a few black and white, nearly incandescent photographs of the labyrinth like streets of this ‘hot spot’ of Tokyo and the marginal existences it houses.
Since the 1980s, aware of the increasing urbanisation of Japan and its irreversible effects on the environment, Toshio Shibata has set about photographing its rural and urban landscapes. The gallery is showing images from different regions of Japan in 2010, in which the photographer reveals the sculptural beauty of dams and other anonymous public structures in a landscape magnified by the use of color.
As a professional journalist, Kyochi Tsuzuki photographs interior scenes of the urban classes in the style of landscape photography. He decrypts the alienation of a youth disillusioned with consumerism or the sexual misery of the soshoku danshi (‘herbivores’, those who practise abstinence) engaged in blow-up-doll competitions evoked in the series ‘Saeborg’ (2012). The issues of identity, of the body and of sexuality are crucial themes in Japanese photography and bring together a second group of artists. Ken Kitano (born in 1968) superposes within a single frame, the portraits of all the members of any given group; singers of Kouta (Geisha songs which accompany the shamisen), Bakke dancers, Geishas and Maikos (an apprentice Geisha), and seeks to identify the boundaries of what constitutes the individuality of ‘Self’.
Satosho Saikusa (born in 1959) a well-known fashion photographer revisits the myth of the Geisha. ‘a person of the arts or woman who excels in the art of Art’ according to Japanese interpretation, in a series dedicated to Japanese women artists with notably the portraits of Yayoi Kusama, Matsui Fuyuko or even Mariko Mori, the cyber icon of contemporary art represented wearing the traditional kimono. Kimiko Yoshida (born in 1963) conjures the ‘ancestral servitude of arranged marriage and humiliating destiny of Japanese women’ via auto portraits in which she takes the stage in the ‘Single Bride’ and assumes multiple identities, the green tea bride, the Pokemon bride…
The former assistant of Noboyushi Araki, Sakiko Nomura (born in 1957) offers us her own version of intimacy with the series ‘Himitsu’ in which tender portraits of nude children are placed in a chiaroscuro, which reveals the fragility and melancholia of the subject photographed.
Takehiro Iikawa, Ken Kitano,Daido Moriyama, Sakiko Nomura, Toshio Shibata, Satoshi Saikusa, Kyoichi Tsuzuki, Kimiko Yoshida
From November 10th to December 28th, 2012
17 rue Guénégaud