Monday, May 28, 2007

Fumimasa Hosokawa


I came across some info about Fumimasa Hosokawa last year I think it was, when he had a joint show in Pittsburgh with another Japanese photographer. I'm glad I saved a couple of the images that were online, because I could find almost no other ones online. He was also featured at PS1 in a show of "emerging" Japanese photographers.


There is a reference to his book Anonymous Scapes which I'm figuring out how to get a copy of - and there's probably some more stuff in Japanese I probably missed.


The show in Pittsburgh was Unspoken Ground: Two views of Japan at the Silver Eye Center for Photography and I did find a piece form Art in America about it:




"...In Fumimasa Hosokawa's more conceptual project, the artist researches public records going back 100 years to find obituaries of people who died on the streets in and around Tokyo in accidents, fights or from illness. Hosokawa visited the locations--determined from the descriptions and addresses in the obituaries--and photographed the sites in black and white in an "official-looking" documentary style. Both photographers point their cameras at should-be populated areas--city streets, construction sites--yet all the settings in the more than 30 works in this show are deserted. This in itself is not particularly unusual. But Kobayashi and Hosokawa focus on the implied interaction of human and site.


...More poignant than formally beautiful, Hosokawa's 22 gelatin silver prints each show the obituary that inspired the accompanying image. (The gallery placed English translations on the wall beside each piece.) He provides the forgotten histories of the locations, but because the images don't always seem to correspondto the narratives, the texts often read more like poetry than death notices. In 1901, for example, a photograph of a characterless paved road with parking signs and a smattering of trees in the background is accompanied by text describing an "approximately 60-year-old man, with thin hair, a 'low nose,' wearing an unlined livery coat ... discovered at this location, 'dead from disease.'" The photograph 1961 shows a small bar nestled between two modern high rises, where an unidentified woman with "a round face and long permed hair, carrying a Shiseido lipstick and a green comb" was found dead on the tracks, now covered up, after being struck by a train near Itabashi Station. In this compelling exhibition, a visual and conceptual dialogue unfolds between the works of two photographers who investigate the effect of human activity on this planet." full article


5 comments:

Denizen said...

"...More poignant than formally beautiful..."?!? C'mon now. You can say anything about these images but not deny their obvious concern with formal issues. Besides I found the whole bla bla given as conceptual background for taking the pictures one of the most far fetched piece of rhetoric ever heard. Can you tell me what's the connection between the fact that somebody happened to die in these surroundings a hundred years ago and a b&w picture taken today when even the oldest trees are unlikely to have been around at that time? I hate to sound like a philistine but I think a bit of skepticism is due here, the photographer has a very good eye, and perhaps those are very nice prints (hard to tell at this size) why not leave it at that?

tim atherton said...

yada yada blah blah...

place, memory, imagination

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me what's the connection between the fact that somebody happened to die in these surroundings a hundred years ago and a b&w picture taken today when even the oldest trees are unlikely to have been around at that time?

well - the photographs themselves for one thing - you seem to confuse the photographs with the apparent place they depict?

akikana said...

Tim, drop me a line if you would like me to find a copy of the book here in Tokyo and send it over to you. email address is at my homepage akikana.com

Ferdinand said...

Thank for the reminder on Hosokawa's work. I have not seen much of it yet and I did search at google.jp and it seems that ""ANONYMOUS SCAPES. HELLO, THE TWENTYTH CENTURY" is the only book Hosokawa has published. I just ordered the book at www.Junkodo.co.jp (Japanese).
:-)