Camera Ninjas

11 Nov

I will give you a few moments to click around google/bing and then wonder to yourself why you don’t know any of the following ninjas… Miho Akioka, Eikoh Hosoe, Miyuki Ichikawa, Hiroko Inoue, Kazuo Katase, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Chie Yasuda,  Tomoko Yoneda… GO!

Times up! So here is your opportunity to go school yourself a lot about what Japan’s photographers are up to. Some of you may know that there is a photography club of some kind in Gaborone but there isn’t a photographer who exhibits regularly. Yes there are group exhibitions every now and again… but there is no one who throws down on the regular… Did someone just think of the Alliance Francais sponsored free for all…? But you see that can’t count because it isn’t open to photographers who know what they are doing, its more an every Thabo, Dimpho and Tebogo who likes taking pictures sorta party. Anyway that’s neither here nor there and this missive is about all these photographers we all never knew about. The exhibition is in two parts… pick one then try the other when you are done.

To Distill: Another Appearance

Miho Akioka
Miho Akioka’s camera lens focuses on the lively state of the life of a tree.  The image that appears through the process of transforming them into fine-grained colors on hemp paper gives the viewers the impression of an immaterial lightness that resembles the image of the spirit, at the same time, the spirit of the image.
Miyuki Ichikawa
Miyuki Ichikawa places her camera against the lens of a pair of binoculars, and captures a ship sailing beyond the sunlight reflecting the surface of the ocean.   Her method not only dismantles the perspective method, but also expresses her strong aspiration to look at things that are difficult to see through her own eyes.

Hiroshi Sugimoto
The buildings seen in Hiroshi Sugimoto’s work are masculine monuments that originally possessed concrete forms.   However, Sugimoto excludes the solid materiality from well-known buildings, and shows an aggregate of shadows, which is similar to seeing a fleeting nightmare.


Chie Yasuda
When Chie Yasuda travels, she stops to look at the obscure, abandoned corners of old botanical gardens and museums. The work she has succeeded in creating is not only difficult but also requires extreme sensitivity and a radical state of mind.


To Reverse: Another Relationship

Eikoh Hosoe “A Weasel’s Slash”
Eikoh Hosoe belongs to the first post-war generation of photography, working in this medium as an artist rather than as a photographer. The works are the photographs that resulted from the collaboration between Eikoh Hosoe and Tatsumi Hijikata, the originator of Butoh (dance style) in Hijikata’s hometown, Akita.

Hiroko Inoue, “Absence”
Hiroko Inoue took a collection of photographs of the outside world as viewed through the windows from the inside of mental institutions.  Most of the works are of iron-barred windows.  She recomposes the scene viewed from the window – normally seen by the patients — through her own eyes.


Kazuo Katase, “Behind the Light”
When Kazuo Katase came back to Japan after almost 30 years in Germany, he took a new look at his country with a feeling of incongruity.  The subjects of his work are, the gate of Ise Shrine (Japan’s head Shinto shrine), the sacred Mount Fuji (the highest peak in Japan), and a tea ceremony bowl that signifies the soul of Zen.


Tomoko Yoneda, “Topological Analogy”
Tomoko Yoneda takes photographs of the wallpaper of a room after the resident has moved out.  In the empty room, she retraces the past time of the former resident.  The wallpaper acts as the phase of the border in order to be led to retrace the time.   The viewers are led to realize that what they feel from her work is the essence of existences.

This truncated version of the exhibition which has even more photographers in the entier collection is curated by Yuri Mitsuda Curator at The Shoto Museum of Art and author of the book that named the exhibition.  The Octagon Gallery at the National Museum is hosting the exhibition until the Sunday 27th November. Don’t kid yourself, something like this doesn’t come round too often. Get over there!

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