MIYAKO YOSHINAGA is pleased to present Close to the Edge: New Photography from Japan from April 21 to May 28, 2016, featuring works by Kenta Cobayashi, Mayumi Hosokura, Taisuke Koyama, Hiroshi Takizawa and Daisuke Yokota. The opening reception will be held Thursday, April 21, 6-8pm. A gallery talk on contemporary Japanese photography will be held on Thursday, April 28 at 7pm.
Over the past year, there have been several major museum and cultural institution exhibitions and events in the United States presenting historical and contemporary photography from Japan. They have included For a New World to Come (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Grey Art Gallery and Japan Society, NYC); In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Japan Society, NYC); Miyako Ishiuchi and Contemporary Japanese Photography (J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles); and the Shashin Festival and Symposium (New York Public Library and the International Center of Photography, NYC). With American audiences now gaining expanded access to information about Japan’s rich photographic history through these museum shows, a desire to learn more about young Japanese photographers and the current Tokyo scene has arisen. Our upcoming gallery exhibition Close to the Edge: New Photography from Japan, curated by New York-based writer and photobook collector Russet Lederman, brings to New York City for the first time works by five young Japanese photographers in their 20s and 30s who explore the boundaries of image making in a post-Internet art world.
In her curatorial statement, Lederman states, “The five young Japanese photographers in Close to the Edge simultaneously embrace and shatter photographic illusions through images that acknowledge the artifice of their craft and the power of photography’s seductive fiction. Although united by their strong sense of community, friendship and common pursuit of rethinking established conventions of photographic expression, each photographer in this show approaches the task through a distinctly different methodology. Questions of analog versus digital, commercial versus fine art or manipulation versus documentation are no longer contentious… It doesn’t matter if their work is called photography, sculpture or art — all terms apply, or don’t.”
Kenta Cobayashi (b. 1992), the youngest in the group, freely uses social media platforms to distribute photos of himself, friends and his surroundings. The raw immediacy that is the hallmark of his work favors strong graphics and acid colors shot with a range of cameras and iPhones. Cobayashi is a prolific zine-maker, who often works collaboratively.
Mayumi Hosokura (born 1979) creates photographs that seduce her viewer through a conceptual approach that reshapes reality within the artifice of darkroom processes. Desire and danger merge in her Crystal Love Starlight images of androgynous male and female models whose fictive tales are based on real-life tabloid news stories. Hosokura, a recipient of the 2011 Foam Magazine Talent Award, has published several well-regarded photobooks. Her most recent book Transparency is the New Mystery, published by MACK, will be released at the same time as this exhibition.
Taisuke Koyama (b. 1978) finds inspiration within abstract elements from the natural environment. In his Light Field series, he visualizes light from a flatbed scanner as it is captured using a smaller handheld scanner. The gap between these two digital light input devices creates rippled patterns that give visible shape to unseen optical information. The resulting abstract images are snapshots of data in progress. Koyama is the recipient of a Japanese government residency grant and lives in Amsterdam. His forthcoming solo exhibition Generated Images will run from April 14 to May 27 at Daiwa Foundation Japan House Gallery in London.
Hiroshi Takizawa (b. 1983) explores physical texture and materiality in works that focus on cement and stone. Having completed his academic studies in criminal psychology, Takizawa sees a photograph as both a documentation of ‘evidence’ and an expression of human emotion. In his “Concrete is on My Mind_Figure” series, he photographs various concrete slabs as a witness of human activities, and then twists and sculpts the images to remind the viewer of the fragility and weightlessness of the photographic paper that the images are printed on.
Daisuke Yokota (b. 1983), Foam’s 2016 Paul Huf Award winner, is regarded as one of the most exciting and innovative young Japanese photographers working today. Yokota produces atmospheric works by flowing easily between analog and digital processes to achieve beautifully degraded and layered images. His Taratine series combines more recent photographs of his girlfriend with earlier road trip images of clouds and landscapes. Yokota’s work is currently on view at Japan Society in their In the Wake exhibition.
Russet Lederman is a writer, media artist and photobook collector living in New York City. She teaches art writing at the School of Visual Arts in New York and writes on photobooks for print and online journals, including Foam, The Eyes, IMA, Aperture and the International Center of Photography’s library blog. She is a co-founder of the 10×10 Photobooks project, lectures internationally on photobooks, and has received awards and grants from Prix Ars Electronica and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Works by Cobayashi, Hosokura, Koyama and Yokota will be presented in collaboration with G/P Gallery, Tokyo. Photobooks by the five photographers will be available for browsing and purchase in the gallery’s reading room.
A talk event exploring the current photography scene in Japan will take place on Thursday, April 28 at 7pm. Guest curator Russet Lederman will moderate a discussion with speakers: Sawako Fukai, Director of G/P Gallery, Tokyo and Michael Chagnon, Ph.D., Curator of Exhibition Interpretation at Japan Society Gallery, New York.