Survey of Japanese photography at ICP first in US in decades

 JAPANESE PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW UNTIL SEPTEMBER 7 2008 “It was probably too much to expect the International Center of Photography to have two excellent group shows of contemporary art in a row. Not many New York museums, especially small ones, manage that regularly” says the New York Times. “Thus ‘Heavy Light: Recent Photography and Video From Japan’ is just average, or a little less”.

With some new and some familiar names, this 13 artist exhibition organized by Christopher Phillips, a curator at the center, and Noriko Fuku, an independent curator from Japan is the first large museum survey of Japanese photography in the USA in decades. 

Two noteworthy artists both dealt with conformity and divergance in humanity.

The New York Times describes Hiroh Kikai, born in 1945, as a kind of August Sander without a studio. Since 1973 he has roamed the Asakusa district of Tokyo, briefly interviewing and then taking black and white photographs of strangers who pose themselves against the blank walls of the Sensoji Temple.A morose-looking man wearing a “love and peace” T-shirt and a skull-and-cross-bones cap provides his own caption: “I’ve always wanted to be different since I was a kid, and I’ve always been knocked around for it.” 

Born in 1977, Tomoko Sawada is widely known for photo-booth and yearbook pictures of girls and young women in which, using computers and variations in hair, makeup and expression, she plays each and every character. Here Ms. Sawada is represented by two examples of her “School Days” series, which show groups of girls in their school uniforms lined up in neat rows, satirizing Japan’s homogeneity and emphasis on conformity.

Source: New York Times
Image details: Tomoko Sawada, School Days

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