Hitoshi Fugo

Flying Frying Pan

Mar 3 - Apr 16, 2016

From March 3 to April 16, 2016, MIYAKO YOSHINAGA is pleased to present Hitoshi Fugo: Flying Frying Pan 1979 – 1994, an exhibition of conceptual photography by Hitoshi Fugo. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held Thursday, March 3, 6-8pm. This exhibition consists of a selection of approximately twenty gelatin silver images from Fugo’s series Flying Frying Pan made between 1979 and 1994. This is the first exhibition of the series in the United States.


One afternoon over three decades ago, Hitoshi Fugo noticed the sunlight coming through his kitchen window was reflected in an iron pan. He channeled his idiosyncratic sensibility into this rather ordinary phenomenon that others might have ignored and set his own rules for his new photography project: “I wanted to free myself thoroughly from the specific time, the specific place, and the relationships between the things and the place and even from the object itself. I desired to prove that you can do that through photography. This is where the Flying Frying Pan series came from.”


Over the next 15 years, Fugo tirelessly shot the same subject over and over, producing the 20” x 24” richly toned black-and-white prints. In the process, the subject lost its original identity and was transformed into a non-object, inviting a viewer to make a wide range of associations such as abstract geometrics, organic cells, and galactic landscapes. In his essay on this series, art critic Robert C. Morgan writes: “One can see in these extraordinary prints thematic concerns, possibly obsessions, as to how Hitoshi Fugo captured the exact feeling of the light as it fell on his greased iron pan. In some photographs one can imagine moon craters or geologic fissures, while in others, there is the rising light on the crescent of the moon, reminiscent of scenes from Stanley Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey from the late 1960s. (…) Here the artist has found, if not distilled, a macro/micro passage between inner and outer space, between intimacy of the self and overwhelming beauty of viewing infinity on a starry night.” 


Born in 1947, Hitoshi Fugo studied photography at Nihon University in Tokyo. After graduation he worked for Eikoh Hosoe, a leading postwar photographer in Japan. In 1973 he went freelance and lived in New York and Paris for the next several years. He traveled extensively in 1980s and 1990s to India, Mexico and the U.S. The images he shot there were later made into the black-and-white series Black Out. Fugo’s other series include Game Over (1989-1991), a color series inspired by West Edmonton Mall in Canada, North America's largest shopping mall in the enclosed indoor compound, and Waterfall Watchers (1994). His most recent series is the critically acclaimed On the Circle (2003-2011). Outside of Japan Fugo’s work has been featured in a number of gallery and museum shows including “Japanese Photography Today” (Spain, 1986) and “Japanese Contemporary Photography” (Germany, 2000).  In 2010, Fugo was awarded the prestigious Ina Nobuo Award. 


The Flying Frying Pan series was published as a book (Shazow Kobo, 1997) and is available at the gallery for purchase.  An exhibition catalog with an essay by Robert C. Morgan is also available upon request. MIYAKO YOSHINAGA is dedicated to mounting a series of important solo exhibitions by contemporary Japanese photographers. To this end, the gallery recently organized the successful exhibitions; Eikoh Hosoe: Curated Body 1959-1970 (2013), Issei Suda: Life In Flower 1971-1977 (2014), and Kazuo Kitai: Students, Workers, Villagers 1964-1978 (2015).

  • solo exhibition