TAG / DATE
Japan seen from abroad
TOP
2011, Apr 10
Japan seen from abroad 4

Here’s a review of “Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art,” a show currently up in New York City. Rinko Kawauchi gets two sentences here, though it’s a huge group show so that’s no injustice. The writing is confusing (confused), though:

By having the uniquely Japanese sub-cultural ko-gals kill themselves (in a manner drawn from bushido honor code), he gesturally decimates Japan’s most marketable youth.


							

Tags (1)

Japan seen from abroad

Comments (0)

TOP
2010, Sep 29
Japan seen from abroad 3

This is about Yasuhiro Ishimoto:

Now it’s de rigeur to have a trans-national, cosmopolitan life, to be “between identities” and “between countries” and all of that, but there was a time when it wasn’t so hip, when nobody wanted to hear about your “struggle,” they just looked at you suspiciously. And one of the things that’s so interesting about Yasuhiro is the way that his photographs reflect not just the values of whatever country he happens to be in at the moment but also the style. So his American photographs look really American, and his Japanese photographs look really Japanese.

There’s no way to talk about this without being really reductive about different countries and cultures, but this is a really, REALLY hard thing for any artist to do.


							

Tags (2)

Japan seen from abroad, Yasuhiro Ishimoto

Comments (0)

TOP
2010, Sep 16
Japan seen from abroad 2

Conscientious talking about Kawada Kikuchi’s “The Map.”

Here is something else that is striking about The Map. Can you name a German photographer who has dealt with the past in the way Japanese photographers have? Maybe I’m missing something, but while Germany’s non-photographic artists have dealt with the German past, its photographers, curiously enough, for the most part have avoided the subject. This is all the more striking since Germany as a whole has made tremendous efforts to deal with its past – unlike Japan, whose prime ministers until very recently regularly visited a shrine honouring war criminals, but refused to even apologize for the country’s action during World War II.

Gotta give credit where credit is due, this is a lucid paragraph, perhaps the only one Colberg has ever written.

The post also features the following stomach-churning passage: “…when pressed, I elaborated on why The Map truly is a stellar book. Just as before, I was surprised about the stuff I heard myself say, and pleasantly so, if I may add. Son of a gun, I thought, that’s actually kind of interesting.

Sigh. The most respected “online photo critic” (he still is, right? i’m not really that close to the ‘scene’) is a man who would happily find the words to praise the color and texture of his own vomit.


							

Tags (1)

Japan seen from abroad

Comments (5)

TOP
2010, Sep 14
Japan seen from abroad

From this post about a Japanese photographer:

Fumi has the Japanese gift for simplicity. His toned black and white images of nature or Japanese artifacts and architecture have a quiet elegance that only someone who appreciates the world when it’s calm and still, interprets so beautifully.

Will try to/want to catalog more of this. Send over a link if something interesting pops up.

from Bryan on google reader


							

Tags (1)

Japan seen from abroad

Comments (0)

TOP
2010, Jul 20
Mari Sugino and Western critical narratives

Towards the end of 2009, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art put up two exhibits featuring Japanese photography. The main attraction, “The Provoke Era,” was a straightforward survey of Japanese photography, starting from the immediate postwar period (Shomei Tomatsu, Hosoe Eikoh), moving to the more radical late 60’s (Hiromi Tsuchida, Daido Moriyama, the rest of the “Provoke” gang) and ending with a confused collection of photos from the 80’s and 90’s (cult street snapper Katsumi Watanabe sharing space with landscape photographer Toshio Shibata and art star Hiroshi Sugimoto). All of the photographs in this exhibition were black-and-white, and taken by men.

Having showed all the “old masters”—a few Nobuyoshi Araki prints were up there too, of course—the second exhibit, “Photography Now: China, Japan, Korea“ was meant to give some young guns a chance to shine. But a curious thing happened in the Japan space. After already looking at the work of some 30 different men, all the prints by female Japanese photographers were grouped together, in one corner of the room.

Only so much can be read into this, but I think it may reflect a certain attitude about “female Japanese photographers”—namely, that people are interested in talking about them as “female Japanese photographers.” Ferdinand has given a talk on this topic, but I can’t say if it was any good. There was an exhibit at Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts in NYC, looking at a few conceptual female photographers like Tomoko Sawada who are “often highlighting and questioning stereotypes of traditional female roles in Japanese society.” Without having bothered to research this too deeply—I’m not a scholar yet—my guess is that “female Japanese photographers” are being used to fit some sort of Western critical narrative. (And probably not a very interesting one, at that… waiting for the Brechtian critics to emerge)

But, I digress. As always, I come to celebrate! In this post I want to introduce Mari Sugino, a “female Japanese photographer” who has been participating in the semi-legendary Place M seminar in Tokyo for a couple of years now. I first saw her work at an exhibit at Konica Minolta Gallery with a friend, and we were both really impressed by her ability to capture quick portraits of people on the street in Tokyo. When I talked to Sugino-san she told me that she isn’t particularly interested in “making it” in the art world. She’s shooting for herself, although of course it wouldn’t be bad to find some success. So no critical narratives today, just very nicely done photos.

© Mari Sugino

 

© Mari Sugino

© Mari Sugino

© Mari Sugino

© Mari Sugino

© Mari Sugino

							

Tags (5)

Daido Moriyama, Japan seen from abroad, Mari Sugino, Nobuyoshi Araki, SFMOMA

Comments (3)