Book | Yutaka Takanashi, Photography 1965 – 74

Contemporary Book Award for “Yutaka Takanashi. Photography 1965-74” @Rencontres d’Arles

Last weekend I received the pleasant news that a photobook I am co-editor of won the Contemporary Book Award at the Rencontres d’Arles Festival 2010.

The Historical Book Award and The Contemporary Book Awards
The Historical Book Award goes to the best thematic book or monograph published between 1 June 2009 and 31 May 2010. The Contemporary Book Award goes to the best photography book published between 1 June 2009 and 31 May 2010. The Book Awards winners are chosen by the five Discovery Award nominators, Rencontres d’Arles president Jean-Noël Jeanneney, and LUMA Foundation founder Maja Hoffmann.

Yutaka Takanashi. Photography 1965-74
Yutaka Takanashi, Photography 1965 – 74
Editors: Roland Angst, Ferdinand Brueggemann, Priska Pasquer
Essays by Ferdinand Brueggmann and Hitoshi Suzuki
Published by Only Photography, Berlin
116 pages, 41 images, Triplex, hardcover, ed. 500
Text: German, English, Japanese
ISBN 978-3-9812537-2-6

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Cozue Takagi wins the 35th Kimura Ihei Photography Award

Ok, that’s not the latest news, since the award has been already given to Cozue Takagi in March, but since hasn’t been much reported outside Japan yet…

Cozoe Takagi: Ground, 2009 ©Cozue Takagi

The young women photographer  (born 1985) was awarded the Kimura Ihei Commemorative Photography Award for her two photo books “MID” and “GROUND” and a solo exhibition at TARO NASU gallery.

Announcement: Cozue Takagi receives the Kimura Ihei Award - source: Akaaka Art Publishing

This award is given to new photographers who achieve outstanding results in creating photos and presentation activities. Because it is the most prestigious award of its kind, it is also referred to as the Akutagawa Award of the photography world. Previous recipients include Mika Ninagawa, Rinko Kawauchi, Taiji Matsue, Masafumi Sanai, Tomoko Sawada, Ryûdai Takano and Lieko Shiga.

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Focus on contemporary Japanese photography. Interview with Mariko Takeuchi, Part II

This is the second part of my interview with Mariko Takeuchi, last year’s guest curator the Guest Curator of the Paris Photo fair. The interview was published (without the images) in foam magazine #17, winter 2008.
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Part II    (Part I of the interview here)

Ferdinand Brueggemann:
Speaking of institutions and the galleries I would like to ask about Rinko Kawauchi. She is highly successful in the West, with many solo shows in Europe, in the USA and even in Latin America, but so far she has had only one solo exhibition in a Japanese museum, and that was in the countryside a long way out of Tokyo. Do you have an explanation for this gap?

Yutaka Takanashi: Untitled (Towards the city), 1968 ©Yutaka Takanashi

Mariko Takeuchi:
Perhaps it is not appropriate to judge an artist’s success only by his or her solo exhibitions in Japanese museums. Nevertheless it is still not easy for Japanese photographers to be recognized and promoted by Japanese museums. For example, Yutaka Takanashi, who played a leading from around Provoke Era at the end of the 1960s will have his first museum-scale solo exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo next January. As you know, even though there are several museums which collect and exhibit photographs, it is still not easy for a photographer to get a solo show in a museum. In spite of that, Rinko Kawauchi, for example, is amazingly successful in Japan. Her photobooks are very popular. The common way to success for photographers in Japan is to first publish a photobook.

Masafumi Sanai: Trouble in mind. Taisho, 2008

Talking about photobooks I would like to come back to the John Szarkowski’s show in 1974. In the exhibiton catalogue Shoji Yamagishi, the Japanese co-curator, made the very important observation that the photobook is the most important tool for Japanese photographers to communicate their work. He gave three reasons for this: the aesthetics of the book, the shortage of exhibition venues and a non-existing art market: “Japanese photographers have only a limited opportunity to present their original prints to the public and no opportunity to sell their pictures to public or private collections. […] Japanese photographers usually complete a project in book form…”

Is Yamagishi’s observation that the photobook is the most important medium for a photographer still valid?

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Some recent activties

It’s over a year that I have written at Japan-Photo.info. But is it not because I lost interest in Japanese photography, in contrary, I was so much involved in Japanese photography, that there wasn’t much time nor thoughts left for the blog, unfortunately.

Eikoh Hosoe: Kamaitachi 8, 1965

Some time ago I became director of Galerie Priska Pasquer, Cologne, were I am responsible for the program of Japanese photography. Already in the years before we had some solo shows with Japanese artists at the gallery: Iwao Yamawaki (Modern photography), Eikoh Hosoe (his first solo show in Germany), Daido Moriyama and Rinko Kawauchi. In the beginning we did not receive much response, but this changed very much in the recent years, because Western curators and private collectors alike became more and more aware of the history of Japanese photography and of the quality of the works coming from Japan.

Osamu Shiihara: Untitled, end 1930s

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Rinko Kawauchi: “Utatane” exhibition in Paris

Just a short post after a long hiatus, but I hope to post more in the upcoming months.

I know I wrote a few times about Rinko Kawauchi – with whom I had a very pleasant dinner in Tokyo a few weeks ago -, but since this is the first time that her famous series “Utatane” from 2001 is exhibited in a solo show outside Japan, I thought it is worth to mention it.

Rinko Kawauchi “Uatane”, at Art77, presented by Antoine de Vilmorin (until May 3).

Rinko Kawauchi: Untitled (from the series: Uatatane), 2001 ©Rinko Kawauchi

As far as I know there has not been much written about the series and book “Utatane” (in contrary to “Aila”)  and which has lead to Rinko’s national and international breakthrough. For “Utatane” (and for her book “Hanabi” [Fireworks]) the artist received the prestigious Kimura Ihei Award and the book was included in the “The Photobook: A History. Vol. 2” by Parr and Badger. Badger wrote a very interesting comment on Rinko and “Utatane” in the photobook anthology:

Just when it seems that everything has been photographed, in every possible way, along comes a photographer, whose work is so original that the medium is renewed. Such a photographer is Rinko Kawauchi, who makes simple, lyrical pictures, so fresh and unusual that they are difficult to describe or classify.

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Naoya Hatakeyama at Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

In 2003 the “Regionale 2004” a project by North Rhine-Westphalia (a federal state in West Germany) commissioned Naoya Hatakeyama to document the defunct coal mine “Zeche Westfalen I/II Ahlen”.

Naoya Hatakeyama: Zeche Westfalen I/II Ahlen

From October 2003 to February 2004 Hatakeyama photographed the sites and structures that were home to tens of thousands of workers for over a century. The series, which I have not seen yet, neither on the wall nor in the book with the same name published just recently by Nazraeli Press, is on display at Taka Ishii Gallery in Tokyo.

It seems that Hatakeyam kind of returned with the following series to a topic with which he ‘blasted’ into the Japanese photo scene in 1995, literally.
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