| EN |

The Myth of Superflat: Slow Reveal: Another Japanese Photography in the 1990's
Written by In the document   
Published: July 14 2011

Courtesy of Motus Fort

In the 1990s when Murakami was having his Neo-Orientalist, Superflat "theory" trumpeted by his Western backers Blum and Poe, Boesky, and Perrotin, and was tooting his own horn locally at the small Shibuya Parco space for insistence, he tried creating an apologetic genre of sub-grade imagery as encompassing of Japanese Art. Citing chronic fatigue and unnamed pressures as excuse for poor ideas, "so please don't judge too harshly," he neatly declared himself dear leader and submerged those with wit. Dubious regional critics and curators like Midori Matsui, Kazuo Amano, Noi Sawaragi among others, wishing to found a catchy genre and fresh careers promoted his vacuous, jingoist juvenilia that ushered in the Heisei Era with a concerted, relentless tsunami of insipidness. The work they champion is likeable and moreover sellable, yet lacks sustainability, and even credibility from within its own community. Like a bad flood, it is now basically receded, but not without lasting damage.

During this 1990's media generated wave of cute, desirable tchotchkes, a quiet, pensive and penetrating array of artists simultaneously were nurtured by Ishihara of Zeit Foto Salon, and given the needed support to embark on their subtly intense koans. Despite each artist having numerous books in print, these photographers still remain outside of the larger discussion of Art in Tokyo, or are lumped into some undefined and so-called, Forgotten Generation. Curators, critics and historians have been lax. Oddly, these artists, Tsukasa Yokozawa, Matsue Taiji, Naoya Hatakeyama, Toshio Shibata, Ryuji Miyamoto, and Norio Kobayashi have never exhibited as a cohesive vision. This loosely associated— not a collective— selection of artists share an analytical detachment. Informed by American Topographics and German Becher-Dusseldorf conceits, these artists subsumed previous lessons and pushed further into territory of long looking. Each artist explores the camera versus the eye with an insistent, disorienting middle ground. Motus Fort does not believe in a nationalist vision, these are artists who were working on their own ideas concurrently, inadvertently disproving little boy Murakami's excluding proclamation, "This is Japanese Art." Unlike the Superflat associates, these artists elevate the known into the unknown so that questions get asked.

What is landscape? What is nature? What is light? What is color? What is city? What is control? What is vision? What is looking? What is watching? What is seeing? What is ocular seeing? What is optical seeing? What is the difference? What is value? What is space? What is photography? Where is distance? Where is space? Where is convergence? What is speed? What is intention? What is will? What role does man have? Where does landscape begin? Where does nature end? What is destruction? What is construction? What are aesthetics? How do we see? What is composition? What is time? What is unity? What are planes? Who decides? How many layers can be in a plane? What is loss? What is destruction? What is construction? What is intervention? What is necessary?...

Each photograph demands long looking. Some deliberately exclude spatial cues to confronted with extreme middle ground. They are seen in an instant but beckon us back for further mulling. We stare mesmerized, and the longer we meditate, more is revealed. In Taiji's photographic terrazzo, the dark stones reveal themselves as goats; human-built, stonewalls appear; paths and trails emerge; we must revisit details. In Hatakeyama's explosions a spectacular spheroid forms; questions of nature versus Man are raised. Time, light and space are confronted. Kobayashi finds inadvertent rhymes in an existing settings; what is subconscious? What is intention? In both Tsukasa Yokozawa and Miyamoto cities and buildings become landscape, but light, season and weather reclaim. Shibata transforms what many consider superfluous eyesores into visual delights on human intervention that are not so easily resolved. Questions are asked and fractal out from themselves. We are arrested and rewarded, adding insight to how we perceive and interact with our world, and here specifically the environment. Art isn't advertised into existence. Art exists on its own. Time reveals.

Tsukasa Yokozawa, Matsue Taiji, Toshio Shibata, Naoya Hatakeyama, Ryuji Miyamoto, Norio Kobayashi

* The text provided by Motus Fort.

Period: Friday, July 1 - Satuday, July 30, 2011
Venue: Motus Fort
Reception: Thursday, July 14, 2011, 18:00 -

Last Updated on July 01 2011

Related Articles

| EN |