Black Sun: The Eyes of Four, Roots and Innovation in Japanese Photography

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9780893811853: Black Sun: The Eyes of Four, Roots and Innovation in Japanese Photography

"The photographs as "ruins" and the "ruins" in the photographs overlap and when the newly emanated feeling for time is marked into the center of the photographs, the ruins are not the carcasses of destruction and devastation, but turn away from being coffins, symbols of death, and move the hub to the mysterious stage of life."--Shunji Ito

Black Sun is an unprecedented portrait of postwar Japan through the eyes of four of the nation's most significant photographers. It encompasses and connects ancient Japanese prophecies, the terror of nuclear destruction, and the results of swift and massive westernization.

Eikoh Hosoe, Shomei Tomatsu, Masahisa Fukase, and Daido Moriyama are widely acknowledged in Japan as masters of photography. Their work ranges from the metaphoric to the documentary, from the presentation of post-apocalyptic artifacts to portraits of crows and crowded city streets. However varied the approach, this work is unified by a sense of innovation and a persistent search for native roots.

Eikoh Hosoe's representation of the demonic myth Kamaitachi is structured like a dance, enacted among the villagers of the far north country and evoking Hosoe's childhood memories of the final years of World War II.

Shomei Tomatsu's work ranges from the legacy of Nagasaki to the student riots of the sixties. His photographs combine social documentary with a search for personal identity, a quest which concludes among the remote islanders of Okinawa.

Masahisa Fukase's epic series Crow adopts the universal symbol of the black bird as evil omen. The crow's somber presence shadows Fukase's journey to his birthplace on the northern island of Hokkaido, fusing private memories to a darker, national heritage.

Daido Moriyama uncovers the malice lurking in the alleys and backstreets of Tokyo. With his confrontational, highly graphic style, Moriyama reveals the overpowering density of life in modern Japan.

In the accompanying text, Mark Holborn creates his own picture of Japan's creative climate, one in which audacious exploration crashes against a legacy of tradition and refinement. He s20provides previously undocumented links between the photographers and other leading Japanese artists of our time, such as filmmaker Nagisa Oshima, graphic designer Tadanori Yokoo, and dancer Tatsumi Hijikata.

Ultimately, the dark lyricism of Black Sun serves as both cultural introduction and global prophecy. The shadow cast by these four photographers stretches beyond the shores of Japan and across the entire length of contemporary experience.

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About the Author:

Eikoh Hosoe was born in 1933 and established his reputation as a leading Japanese photographer following the publication of his first book Man and Woman in 1961. He received international attention with the publication of his portraits of the writer Yukio Mishima in Barakei: Killed by Roses in 1963. His other books include Kamaitachi (1968), Embrace (1971), and a recent study of the Spanish architect Gaudi (1984). He is professor of the Tokyo Institute of Polytechnics. A new edition of Barakei was published by Aperture in 1985.

Shomei Tomatsu was born in 1930 and has established a reputation internationally with a form of photography which is both intensely personal and documentary. His first book 11:02 Nagasaki (1966) revealed his extraordinary vision. His work forms a remarkable document of postwar Japan and has influenced many Japanese photographers. His recent books The Pencil of the Sun (1979) and Sparkling Winds (1979) reveal his interest in the island communities of Okinawa. His work has been included in many international exhibitions and a major retrospective of his work was held in Graz, Austria, in 1984.

Masahisa Fukase was born in 1934 and published his first book Homo Ludence in 1971. His work was included in the exhibition New Japanese Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1974. Much of a long narrative series of "Crow" was included in his book Yokho (1978). Many of the photographs were exhibited in Neue Fotografie Aus Japan in 1976 and Japan: A Self Portrait at the International Center of Photography, New York, in 1979.

Daido Moriyama was born in 1938 and has worked as a graphic designer and as an assistant to Eikoh Hosoe. His work has been included in all of the international exhibitions of Japanese photography and his original style has greatly affected the course of modern photography in Japan. He has published many books in Japan and his first book of essays, Inunokioku (Dog Memories) was published in Tokyo in 1984.

Mark Holborn was born in London in 1949. He is Editor of Aperture and is presently living in New York. His book on Japanese landscape, The Ocean in the Sand, was published in 1978. He has written texts for Beyond A Portrait: Dorothy Norman and Alfred Stieglitz (Aperture, 1984) and Barakei, Eikoh Hosoe's photographs of Yukio Mishima (Aperture, 1985). He is preparing a text for a book on Butoh, a form of contemporary Japanese dance, to be published by Aperture in 1986.

From Library Journal:

High-quality illustrations provide a showcase for the divergent styles of four contemporary photographers, to accompany a traveling exhibition of their work. Eikoe Hosoe's images cine matically present a dancer acting out a demon myth in villages and rice fields. Shomei Tomatsu documents the effects of the 1945 Nagasaki atomic bomb ex plosion in shocking artistic composi tions. In Masahisa Fukase's pictures, crows inhabit the images of the volca nic Imami Islands. Daido Moriyama presents shadowy close-up and still-life abstractions from an urban environ ment. Each photographer's work is ac companied by an essay about the artist. Holborn's essays provide a very brief history of Japanese photography in the context of 20th century photographic aesthetics, tracing the roots of a style that evinces Japan's "terrible yet fertile experience." Recommended. Kath leen Collins, Library of Congress
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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