Kikuji Kawada is creating his own world of photography more than 50 years based on myriad ability. The outstanding works of Kawada constantly attracts attention in Japan, and receives international attention as well. In spring in 2003, the large number of prints by Kawada, from “The Map” to the recent works, were shown at the one-person exhibition “Kikuji Kawada: Theatrum Mundi” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. It revealed Kawada’s world and it was imprinted in our mind clearly.
“Invisible City” is the works photographed by Kawada from 2001 to 2006. There were works in color “Eureka/ The Complete City – Phantom” in the last chapter of the exhibition “Kikuji Kawada: Theatrum Mundi” in 2003, and the idea of the “invisible city” was already adapted in the theme. It was the September 11 terrorist attacks that made him changed to think of the city. Since then, he photographs the city on the same day every year. “Invisible City” captured by Kawada is an imaginative document of the cities which are crumbling yet sure to reborn.
Kawada mentions, “Perhaps the spirits that appear and ruminate about various civilizations are the photographed cities found within the mirrored reflection of this material city. To see the true identity of this unknown city, which is almost visible but not quite, one must be conscious of the mirror that always draws close to the opposing city. A reflecting mirror that responds to real simultaneity is probably needed as well. A beautiful document is always in harmony with its anti–document mirror.”
In the dreamy and realistic novel “Le città invisibili” written by Italo Calvino, it was described that Marco Polo traveled around the world and reported about many imaginative cities to the master of desert, Kublai Khan. Kikuji Kawada was inspired in no small part to this novel, and we can see his another quest for the city in his photography.
Born in Ibaraki Prefecture, 1933. Founder member of “VIVO”, photographers’ agency (1959-1961). Received the Minister of Education’s Art Encouragement Prize, 2004.
Selected Recent One-Person Exhibition:
“The Last Cosmology”, Tower Gallery, Yokohama (1995), “ZENO – The Last Cosmology”, Photo Gallery International [P.G.I.], Tokyo (1996), “Car Maniac”, P.G.I., Tokyo (1998), “Eureka”, P.G.I., Tokyo (2001), “Kikuji Kawada: Theatrum Mundi”, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo (2003), “The Map 1960-1965”, P.G.I., Tokyo (December 2004 – February 2005), “Kikuji Kawada: Eureka/ Multigraph”, Shadai Gallery, Tokyo Polytechnic University, Tokyo (2005).
“New Japanese Photography”, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1974)
“Japon des Avant-Gardes 1910-1970”, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1986)
“The History of Japanese Photography”, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas (2003)