Saturday, September 21, 2013

exhibition: out of doubt

For this four iteration of the Mori Art Museum's comprehensive triennial of contemporary Japanese art, the institution's chief curator Mami Kataoka, is joined by guest curator from Australia and US. Together, they have selected a group of thirty participants, which (unlike in years past) also includes expatriate Japanese artist and those of Japanese decent: Ei Arakawa, Aki Sasamoto, and Simon Fujiwara to name a few. The roster is farther expanded with work by several postwar artists such as anti-art pioneer Genpei Akasegawa, reportage painter Hiroshi Nakamura, and Mono-ha artist Kishio Suga.

Kishio SugaLinked Space,  2010, wire, cement
Installation view: Gallery 604, Busan; photo: Sato Tsuyoshi
Among other figures, who utilized nonsensical painting, incomplete objects, and performance to question cultural values and disrupt rigid social programs. Seen in dialogue, the art of this international ensemble promises to demonstrate the ways in which ideologic and methodological legacies of the Japanese avant-garde have been transmitted between generations.

Mika TajimaThe Extras, 2010, wood, canvas, acrylic paint, silkscreen, mirrored aluminum, wood, paper, plexiglas, MDF, spray enamel, video monitor, formica, glass, lights; photo: Jason Mandella, Courtesy: Sculpture Center, New York
(Artforum Sep 2013 issue)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

exhibition: curated body

Eikoh Hosoe, Man and Woman #24, 1960
Eikoh Hosoe emerged in the experimental arts movement of post-war Japan. Early on in his career he abandoned the documentary style prevalent in the post-war years and produced work that breathed a sense of experimentation and freedom into photography. He developed a unique style combining photography with elements of theatre, dance, film and traditional Japanese art.
Eikoh Hosoe, Man and Woman #20, 1960
Hosoe gained recognition in the late 1950s with the series Man and Woman (1959) wielding power in their explicit exploration of the human form. Permeated by dark, obscure images of naked bodies, Man and Woman is inspired by Tatsumi Hijikata, the charismatic dancer and founder of Butoh dance movement, whom he met through his friend, the writer Yukio Mishima. Hosoe’s concerns resonated deeply with Hijikata whose performance explores themes of death and eroticism through exaggerated, and extremely slow movement, by performers covered in white body paint.
Eikoh Hosoe, Embrace #60, 1970
Produced then years later Embrace series reduce the model’s flesh to a calm abstract contemplation of body contours.  Human limbs are treated as the subjects of a still life, but there is a surprising amount of movement as well —muscles are taught, and bodies are folded and pressed against one another.

In 1974, Hosoe was selected by MoMA as one of 15 artists in the first major survey of Japanese photography outside of Japan. Images from his Man and Woman series were part of the landmark exhibition, New Japanese Photography, and are now on view once again in Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery in New York, along with the prints from Embrace series.